Pony.ai (小马智行) announced on August 26 it would go into partnership with Toyota to jointly develop autonomous driving technology in the future.
Pony.ai is a startup co-located in China and Silicon Valley focused on building safest and most reliable autonomous driving technology. Ever since its founding in 2016, the company has become the most valuable autonomous driving startup in China, valued at USD 1.7 billion.
The privately-held company closed an extended Series A round of funding on April 11, raising USD 50 million from Kunlun, a Beijing-based global internet company. As of April 2019, the company has raised in total financings of USD 300 million, propelling its valuation to the highest level among self-driving startups. Some leading investors are in participation with the whole fundraising including Sequoia Capital China, IDG Capital, Morningside Venture Capital, Legend Capital, China Merchant Capital and so on.
Pony.ai launched its PonyPilot autonomous driving mobility program in Guangzhou last December and became the first to launch robo-taxi fleet, app and pilot program in China. It ranked the first in China and fifth globally among self-driving companies, according to California DMV 2018 Miles Per Disengagement Report. So far, the company has three operation sites in Fremont, U.S., Beijing and Guangzhou, China.
Through cooperating with Chinese companies, Toyota aims to accelerate its expansion in Chinese auto and mobility market. Last month, it announced a partnership with Didi Chuxing, Chinese ride-hailing giant.