Pony.ai makes the PonyAlpha autonomous driving system that supports “level 4 autonomous cars,” or vehicles that can operate without human oversight in predictable environments like college campuses, small towns and industrial parks.

Its operating system of lidars, radars, and cameras has been deployed in a number of pilot tests with partners, including programmes with Toyota and Hyundai, and the company is one of a limited number of autonomous driving startups to be granted permits for robo-taxi operations in California. Cars running on its system have also been put through road tests in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

Former Baidu chief architect James Peng founded Pony.ai in 2016 with Tiancheng Lou, who worked at Google’s autonomous car project before it was hived off into Waymo. As of early this year Pony.ai had raised a little over $1 billion in investment and was claiming a valuation of $5.3 billion.


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