Pony.ai reached a consensus with GAC Group recently to jointly launch the first level 4 autonomous driving vehicle Aion LX across nations, according to iyiou.com.
Early in February 2018, the two companies announced a partnership to collaborate on autonomous driving technology, mobility options and some other auto and mobility-related areas. The level 4 self-driving Aion LX will be deployed in both driverless vehicle operation and mobility services, people familiar with the matter said.
Aion LX is defined as a flagship luxury sport utility vehicle of GAC Group’s Aion series. The selling price of the driverless vehicle exceeds CNY 300 thousand (USD 42.3 thousand) which is seemingly highest among domestic traditional manufacturers’ electric vehicles.
It is not the first time for Chinese traditional manufacturers to produce high-end intelligent electric vehicles. In August last year, Marvel X, SAIC Group’s best electric vehicle model, was launched with high market expectations. Nonetheless, sales of Marvel X did not perform well as the market expected. Monthly sales exceeded 1 thousand in the last quarter of 2018 and saw severe slumps since January 2019. Only 80 Marvel X vehicles were sold in July.
Just one year after Marvel X’s launching, Aion LX is about to board on the market. Xiao Yong (肖勇), GAC Group’s new energy vice president, showed sufficient confidence in Aion LX as he said the vehicle was going to the most advanced EV ever and only considered Tesla as the competitor.
Pony.ai’s leading self-driving technology is also recognized by the domestic market. Yang Zhao (杨昭), former public relations director of BYD, said leading technology was the base of a high-end brand and Aion LX’s leading technology provided the vehicle with chances to have a place in the high-end vehicle market.
One month ago, Pony.ai announced the cooperation with Toyota in Autonomous driving and mobility sectors. Founded in 2016, the company has a valuation of more than USD 1.6 billion.