According to 36kr, Pony.ai's co-founder and CEO PENG Jun and CTO LOU Tiancheng first revealed at the Automobile Shanghai that in addition to developing the L4 autonomous passenger car, they have a team of more than ten people working on long-distance truck transportation.
It took 16 weeks to complete sensor configuration, modification, integration, commissioning and system validation to achieve complete autonomous driving in urban arterial roads and industrial parks, including driving through some complex intersections, upper and lower main roads and auxiliary roads.
LOU Tiancheng said that the layout of long-distance freight is to verify the 'technology expansibility'. And in all kinds of travel scenarios, urban travel and long-distance freight are the two categories that have the greatest impact on people's lives, with the highest commercial value.
Similarly, Waymo announced in 2017 that it was working on autonomous driving trucks. In March 2018, the company said its autonomous driving trucks began shipping at Google's Atlanta data centre using the same set of custom sensors as its minivan passenger cars.
According to Pony.ai, in June 2017, the company obtained the 'production license of the autonomous driving vehicle test program' issued by the California government. The public road test in Fremont, California lasted for more than two years and covered more than 50 square kilometres.
In June 2018, it obtained the 'T3 autonomous driving road test license' issued by the Beijing municipal government, and the license was renewed in December of the same year. It has been tested in Beijing for more than a year and covers more than 50 square kilometres.
In February 2018, Pony.ai landed in Nansha, Guangzhou, China's first normalization test run driverless fleet, and in December of the same year, it released the applet with the same name for the PonyPilot project. Through an applet, test riders can freely choose the destination they want in the covered area. However, the applet is invitation-only and will be available to the public in the future.
PonyPilot road test covers the core area of Nansha in Guangzhou, covering more than 50 square kilometres, including the commercial plaza, landmark hotel, residential area, office building, library, gymnasium and other places.
"In three traffic conditions are very different places to do the test, can let we collected a lot of traffic scene," said Peng Jun, China's urban areas test road conditions are extremely complex, we need to be solved car mixed flow, boundary case (corner case), special challenges of weather conditions and other factors, and to do in the area of the running "arbitrary point to point" road test, can avoid the fixed line test result in excessive fitting technology.
In order to realize the normalization point-to-point road test, they added dynamic routing algorithm mechanism into the PonyPilot, and the test vehicle could make a dynamic prediction and decision optimization according to the road condition in each lane.
A startup can do extensive road testing in three cities in China and America, capital support is key. On the evening of April 10, Kunlun Tech Co Ltd announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary Kunlun Group Limited planned to invest USD 50 million of its own capital in Pony.ai and acquire 3% equity after Pony financing.
As of December 31, 2018, Pony.ai had total assets of about USD 175 million, net assets of about USD 152 million and total liabilities of about USD 22.84 million, according to Kunlun’s announcement. In addition, Pony.ai showcased GAC Trumpchi GE3 and Lincoln MKZ road-test models in 18th Automobile Shanghai. The company signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the GAC group in February 2018.