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Jul 6, 2020 · PingWest
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Jun 19, 2020 · WeRide
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News EO
Feb 3, 2020
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News EO
Feb 3, 2020

Pony.ai is Determined to Bring Autonomous Cars on to the Streets ASAP

In an interview with CNBC, James Peng, CEO and co-founder of Pony.ai, claims that autonomous cars that will ferry passengers through our major cities are just around the corner.  "If I have to give a number, I'll probably say in five years," said Peng. "We'll definitely see a wide adoption of autonomous driving vehicles – fully autonomous driving vehicles – on the open roads." Although for many the technology behind self-driving cars seems to be getting closer to achieving the goal of ‘full autonomy’ every day, considering the challenges facing the industry, it seems like any such estimation is very optimistic. Ironically, compared to other industries, the biggest obstacle for autonomous cars is simply ‘humans’ and their irrational decisions – such as not waiting for the green line to cross the street. Autonomous vehicles will likely coexist with traditional vehicles – and with human drivers – for at least the next 30 years. Therefore, the challenge is not only pedestrians and their movements but also measuring drivers’ behavior. Another challenge is the urban environment. For autonomous cars to safely drive around, cities need to build infrastructure – such as sensors and software that can help autonomous cars to navigate city roads. These include telecoms networks to capture data from vehicles and their surroundings, cloud-computing capacity to process these data and map services. Lastly, the legal issues. There are so many legal issues that self-driving technology needs to overcome. Among them, data security is the law makers’ biggest concern. Thanks to the nature of self-driving technology, autonomous vehicles will probably record data on how, when, and where individuals drive. This may raise privacy concerns if the information is stolen or improperly handled. Under these circumstances, industry watchers expect a more extended period before autonomous cars hit the roads en masse. Nevertheless, Pony.ai seems to be determined to spread the autonomous driving technology sooner than expected. A couple of months ago, they announced a collaboration with ON Semiconductor to improve autonomous vehicle technology through machine vision. ON Semiconductor is known for its expertise in image sensing and processing. It boasts innovative solutions and products in imaging, radar and ultrasonic sensing – all sensor modalities that are vital components in autonomous driving’s perception systems. With this collaboration, Pony.ai wants to differentiate itself from its competitors – Waymo, Naoh, Argo AI, CYNGN & Zoox – and accelerate the industrialization of self-driving technologies.   However, the company needs not only technological collaborations to achieve this goal, but also some collaborations from the legal and infrastructural sides.

Announcements
Jan 13, 2020 · leiphone
News EO
Nov 27, 2019
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News EO
Nov 27, 2019

Pony.ai Reaches 1 Million Kilometers Milestone

Autonomous driving startup Pony.ai (小马智行), recently announced that its total mileage has just exceeded one million kilometers. The Sequoia Capital-backed company has received USD 264 million over three financing rounds, making it China’s most valuable autonomous driving startup. Pony.ai specialized in Level 4 autonomous driving technology for passenger cars, and since April 2019 Pony.ai has also been working on its new venture, trucks. “Through constant pursuit of technology, Pony.ai has significantly improved the reliability of its software and hardware systems, the efficiency of its fleet operation and the scalability of its technology,” claimed Pony.ai’s CEO James Peng.     The Beijing-based company has made several strategic agreements with global automotive giants within the last few months. Starting from August, Pony.ai has partnered with Japanese auto market leader Toyota in Pony.ai’s pilot program that set to be implemented in Beijing and Shanghai. The program aims to tackle the area of ‘safe’ mobility services. In its latest deal in October, Pony.ai began cooperating with South Korean automaker Hyundai, to establish a self-driving system for pilot ride-sharing service BotRide, competing against Google’s Waymo, which began its testing long before them. The fleet is coming in with 10 autonomous Hyundai electric KONA vehicles, with the aim of looking at consumer behavior, in order to optimize their experience.    Pony.ai obtained California road test license in June 2017 and subsequently in Guangzhou, later that year in December. By July 2018, Pony.ai was officially issued with the highest level of road test license T3, from Beijing Municipal Government. Earlier this year, China issued the ‘2018 Annual Work Report of Beijing Automated Driving Vehicle Road Test.’ The report revealed that a total of 56 autonomous cars from 8 companies have successfully safely driven a staggering 163,600 kilometers, within the capital’s vicinity. In contrast to California’s report, Pony.ai’s main domestic rival Baidu, showed an outstanding performance compared to its peers, with 45 test vehicles and test mileage accounting for 91%. With only 2 test vehicles, Pony.ai only started operation in July and came in second behind Baidu at the end of 2018, covering a test mileage of over 10,000 kilometers. The 5,067 kilometers per vehicle mileage of Pony.ai is higher than that of Baidu, with only 3109 kilometers, implying that Pony.ai is more efficient compared to its peers.   The Chinese government is seeking to accelerate the deployment and commercialization of autonomous vehicles, by issuing more autonomous driving test drive licenses. According to a study conducted by CV intellectual, as of July 2019, 18 cities across China have issued a total of 202 licenses.

News EO
Sep 20, 2019
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News EO
Sep 20, 2019

Pony.ai Together with GAC Group to Launch Level 4 Self-driving Vehicles

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.

News EO
Aug 26, 2019
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News EO
Aug 26, 2019

Pony.ai Partners with Toyota in Self-driving Field

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.

News
Aug 26, 2019 · 36Kr
Analysis EO
Jun 27, 2019
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Analysis EO
Jun 27, 2019

Meet the Most-funded Autonomous Driving Startups in China

With the accelerated penetration of artificial intelligence, autonomous driving technology has undoubtedly become the hottest field at present. In addition to traditional automobile enterprises and Internet giants, a large number of technology startups have also emerged. According to the incomplete statistics, there have been more than 240 startups globally involved in R&D activities in the field of autonomous driving technology. China is the largest automobile market in the world, no wonder that the number of local startups is high. Funding activity is on the up Being one of the most promising sections of the automobile industry, the autonomous driving market starts to heat up gradually. Data from ITjuzi shows that as early as 2008, there were startups related to autonomous driving technology in China. The pace of development entered the fast lane in 2013 and peaked in 2017. After several years of inactivity, capital markets in 2015 showed unprecedented enthusiasm for autonomous driving. ITjuzi (IT桔子), a venture-capital database in China's pan-TMT sector, released data showing that 8 autonomous driving companies in China received some funding in 2014. In 2015, this figure soared to 31, with a growth rate of 287.5%. The amount of investment also increased from CNY 320 million to CNY 4.46 billion in this year. Of course, the rapid development of the industry cannot happen without policy support and catalysis. Investors are keenly aware of opportunities in the industry behind policy support. ‘Made in China 2025 strategy’ was officially promulgated in 2015. China needs to master the overall technology and key technologies of intelligent driving by 2020. The company will master the overall autonomous driving technology and key technologies, establish a completely independent research and development system, production supporting system and the industrial cluster of the intelligent connected vehicle, and basically complete the transformation and upgrading of automobile industry by 2025. China's ‘medium and long-term development plan for the automobile industry’ has proposed specific time nodes for the development of intelligent connected vehicles in 2017. The assembly qualified rate of new car DA (driving assistance), PA (partial automatic driving) and CA (conditional automatic driving) systems should exceed 50%, and the assembly rate of connected driving assistance system should reach 10%. By 2025, the assembly rate of DA, PA and CA new cars will reach 80%, among which the assembly rate of PA and CA new cars will reach 25% by 2020. In other words, autonomous cars will begin to enter the market just in several years. Well-funded Research from Strategy Analytics shows that the market size of autonomous smart cars and mobile Shared travel will reach USD 7 trillion by 2050, including USD 4 trillion for ride-hailing services based on driverless smart cars and USD 3 trillion for express delivery and commercial logistics services. Against this backdrop, China's massive market could spawn more autonomous driving startups. As for the popularity of autonomous driving, some insiders believe that autonomous driving technology has a large market space and a long industrial chain, and will gradually become a new pillar industry in the future, which is bound to produce new super enterprises. In addition, the application of Internet of things, big data, AI and other technologies is accelerating the transformation of the logistics market to intelligent logistics, and the demand for autonomous driving, distribution technology and solutions in the logistics scene also triggers the further increase of capital and start-up companies. Changing the face of transportation is a costly business, one that typically requires corporate backing or a lot of venture funding to realize such an ambitious goal. On Jan. 4, WeRide.ai secured the Series A funding round of tens of millions of dollars from Sensetime (商汤科技) and ABC International (农银国际). That was the first publicly announced round of financing in the autonomous driving industry this year.  Another Chinese autonomous driving startup TuSimple announced on February 13 that it has secured a USD 95 million Series D financing led by Sina capital, which will be used for the commercial landing, technology research and development of autonomous driving. Toussaint future has raised about USD 85 million in the first three rounds, while TuSimple says it is valued at more than USD 1 billion after the Series D round financing. In addition, there are many other companies that have received significant financing since their inception. EqualOcean has compiled a list of the top 10 companies that have raised the most money so far. Top 10 Pony.ai Pony develops artificial intelligence solutions in the field of robotics. James Peng and Lou Tiancheng founded it in 2016, with its headquarters in Fremont in California with additional offices in Silicon Valley, Beijing, and Guangzhou.  Pony.ai is so far the best-performing Chinese autonomous vehicle company, ranking fifth with 1,022.3 MpD (Miles per Disengagement) in the annual autonomous vehicle testing report released by the California DMV. Horizon Robotics As one of the world's leading AI startups, Horizon Robotics has a top executive team in the industry, with the ability to develop algorithms, software, hardware, processors, and cloud infrastructure. Of the world's top four Internet AI R&D institutions, two were established by the founding team members of Horizon Robotics - Baidu's Institution of Deep Learning (IDL) and Facebook AI Research (FAIR). The company's core members have been rated world No.1 in more than 20 international AI competitions, and have provided products and services that have been affecting hundreds of millions of users in such areas as processor design, high-performance cloud computing, parallel computing, face recognition, and voice semantic recognition.  Tusimple TuSimple, which launched in 2015 and has operations in San Diego and Tucson, Ariz., has been running daily routes for customers in Arizona. The company recently raised $95 million in a Series D funding round led by Sina Corp. The company is preparing to scale up its commercial autonomous fleet to more than 50 trucks by June. TuSimple has raised $178 million to date in rounds that have included backers such as Nvidia and ZP Capital. Sina, the operator of China’s biggest microblogging site Weibo,  is one of TuSimple’s earliest investors. Momenta Momenta is an autonomous driving company from China and aims to build the ‘Brains’ for autonomous vehicles. The company was founded in September 2016 by Cao Xudong, a former scientist at Microsoft Research and formerly executive director of research and development at Chinese face recognition start-up SenseTime. Momenta's deep-learning based software in perception, HD semantic mapping, and data-driven path planning enables the realization of full autonomy. AutoAI Founded in April 2018, AutoAI was established by Navinfo, the original intelligent network business, and many domestic first-class Internet companies and well-known investment institutions. Invested and jointly invested in the establishment of an intelligently networked system developer and operator for a new generation of self-driving cars. The company has gathered many well-known leading figures and talents in various sectors of the industry, providing technology development and product development from intelligent navigation, car networking services and content, intelligent networked operating systems and solutions, car networking big data and operation. Robosense RoboSense (Suteng Innovation Technology Co., Ltd.) is a world-leading LiDAR environment perception solution provider. Founded in 2014, RoboSense is headquartered in Shenzhen and has set up branch offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Germany, and the United States. The company is committed to delivering comprehensive LiDAR environment perception solutions, focused on which, the team has been continuously working on and making innovations in many core technical fields such as FPGA, LiDAR hardware, and AI algorithms. With customers’ needs in mind, RoboSense provides a variety of bespoke intelligent environment perception LiDAR systems. Hesai Hesai specializes in designing and manufacturing laser sensors for different industries, including LiDARs (3D scanners for self-driving cars and robots), and gas leak remote sensors for the natural gas industry. Hesai was founded in 2013 in Silicon Valley and now is headquartered in Shanghai, with about 560 employees (>30 PhDs) from top universities such as MIT, Stanford and Tsinghua, and industry-leading engineers from top tech companies such as Apple, Samsung, BMW, Delphi, etc. Hesai currently owns 1 research centre and 2 manufacturing centres. Hesai's LiDARs have served pioneering autonomous driving technology companies worldwide. More than 40% of 62 companies who have autonomous-driving road-test permits in California are Hesai's customers. Holomatic Founded in June 2017, HoloMatic is a startup company dedicated to providing autonomous driving solutions based on cutting-edge artificial intelligence and automotive industry technologies.  HoloMatic is one of the few companies in possession of a complete layout of autonomous driving technologies, from the wire control, multi-sensor to core algorithm modules. Meanwhile, the company provides solutions targeted at mass production, as an effort to accelerate the industrialization of autonomous driving. Yihang.ai Yihang.ai, a Changchun, Jilin Province-based startup focused on providing autonomous driving solutions, announced on October 13 that it has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with smart EV startup CHJ Automotive in the autonomous driving field. The first volume production SUV from CHJ Automotive will adopt an Autopilot solution jointly developed by the two companies, who will also work together to develop Level 4 autonomous driving technology based on deep learning and aim to launch China’s first L4 capable volume production vehicle. Active investors After policy guidance and capital input, how to commercialize and land their autonomous driving technology becomes the focus of the industry. According to the current market situation, the start-up companies with advanced driving assistance system (ADAS) are similar to traditional parts companies in terms of commercial landing. One is to cooperate with agents to enter the c-terminal consumer market in the future.  At present, such enterprises have received some market orders. Some enterprises with core technology algorithms provide software technology and calculation methods to the car factory. Such enterprises usually need to run in and cooperate with the car factory for a long time。This is not difficult to explain the head of the investors is not only investment institutions, but also many car companies involved.  EqualOcean collated and analyzed the financing histories of these ten companies and found that, in the current financing history of these ten enterprises, there are 54 investment enterprises, among which the relatively active enterprises include IDG Capital, NVIDIA, NIO Capital, Sina, Tencent, and Sequoia Capital China. In TuSimple's five rounds of funding, Sina appeared three times. NIO Capital is an investor in two companies, Momenta and AutoAI. Yet immature but promising industry Some industry experts say that the trucking is expected to be one of the first major areas to commercialize autonomous driving vehicles or adopt autonomous driving technology, as highway conditions have relatively predictable advantages over busy urban streets. Many companies are also engaged in the field of commercializing autonomous driving vehicles. Maybe that's why Sina is so confident about TuSimple. Daimler, for example, recently announced its plans to invest about EUR 500 million (USD 573 million) over the next few years to develop highly automated trucks. At the same time, Stuttgart, Germany-based automotive giant made its first-ever investment in a Chinese startup this week, taking part in a USD 46 million funding round for Momenta, a Beijing-based firm providing road sensors and high definition mapping software. In the future, autonomous driving technology might bring a lot of convenience to people's mobility and significantly improve driving safety. However, it should also be noted that it is not easy to achieve fully autonomous driving, and it still faces many challenges, including technical, legal, infrastructure, maps and high-end sensors. At present, the autonomous driving research and development of startups and even car companies are still dominated by prototype technology solutions, which are still a long way from actual landing and mass production applications.

News EO
Apr 23, 2019
News EO
Apr 23, 2019

Pony.ai Entered the Field of Unmanned Cargo

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.

News EO
Apr 11, 2019
News EO
Apr 11, 2019

Pony.ai May Raise New USD 50 Million Round of Funding

KUN LUN Inc. (昆仑万维)announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary Kunlun Group Limited (昆仑集团) intends to invest USD 50 million in Pony AI Inc. on April 10, acquiring 3% equity after Pony.ai’s financing, which also makes the valuation of Pony.ai reach about USD 1.7 billion. In January 2018, Pony.ai announced the completion of the series A round of financing with USD 112 million. This round of financing was jointly led by Morningside capital and Alliance capital, and the old shareholders like sequoia capital China fund and IDG capital also participated in this investment. Other investors include Hongtai capital, Lenovo star, Qichen capital, DCM, Comcast Ventures and silicon valley future capital. In July 2018, Pony.ai announced that it had raised USD 102 million from ClearVue Partners and Eight Roads, making its valuation close to USD 1 billion. ZHOU Yahui, the chairman of KUN LUN, said that the future focus of KUN LUN will be to invest in the Internet 3.0 era, namely the era of the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence technology will empower various industries and will grow explosively in the next few years. Artificial intelligence will also be the focus area for KUN LUN to increase investment in the future. KUN LUN believes that the current domestic autonomous driving technology has made great progress and will have a significant impact on human life and travel in the future. KUN LUN said in the announcement that autonomous driving has a great market space, and Pony.ai has the leading technical advantages and stable strong core technical team, so optimistic about its future development. Pony has obtained the 'production license of autonomous vehicle test program' issued by the California government and the 'road test license of T3 autonomous driving' issued by the Beijing municipal government. Its autonomous vehicle fleet has been tested in Silicon Valley, Beijing and Guangzhou. According to the data, Pony. Ai, a self-driving startup company was established in November 2016 and is dedicated to the research and development of Level 4 (S.E.A) autonomous driving technology, namely the research and development of fully automatic driving technology for vehicles under specific roads and environments. In the past year, the company has carried out road testing in San Francisco, the United States, and set up its China headquarters and research and development centre in October 2017. In addition, Pony.ai will participate in the 18th international Automobile and Manufacturing Technology Exhibition with autonomous L4 full-stack autonomous driving technology (see more in this article). It will be the company's first appearance at the Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition session.

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