Pony.ai, the Chinese language autonomous automobile startup and relative newcomer to the trade, is now valued at $5.3 billion following a contemporary injection of $267 million in funding.
The spherical was led by TIP, an innovation fund inside the Ontario Lecturers’ Pension Plan Board that focuses on late-stage enterprise and progress fairness investments in firms that ship disruptive know-how. Current companions Constancy China Particular Conditions PLC, 5Y Capital (previously Morningside Enterprise Capital), ClearVue Companions and Eight Roads additionally participated within the spherical.
The brand new funds will primarily be used for analysis and improvement, in line with the corporate.
Pony.ai has gained over traders, OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers throughout its four-year existence. The corporate, which operates in China and California, has raised greater than $1 billion since its founding, together with $400 million from Toyota. Pony has a number of partnerships or collaborations with automakers and suppliers, together with Bosch, Hyundai and Toyota.
Pony is constructing what it describes as an agnostic digital driver for all sizes of autos, from small automobiles to giant vans, and to function on each ridesharing and logistics (supply) service networks. The corporate mentioned again in 2019 that it was working with OEMs and suppliers to use its automated know-how to the long-haul trucking market. Nevertheless it’s maybe finest identified for its effort round robotaxis.
The corporate has launched ridesharing and commuter pilots in Fremont and Irvine, California and Guangzhou, China. Final yr, a fleet of electrical, autonomous Hyundai Kona crossovers outfitted with a self-driving system from Pony.ai and By way of’s ride-hailing platform started shuttling clients on public roads. The robotaxi service, referred to as BotRide, wasn’t a driverless service, as there was a human security driver behind the wheel always. The BotRide pilot concluded in January 2020.
The corporate then began working a public robotaxi service referred to as PonyPilot within the Irvine space. Pony shifted that robotaxi service from shuttling individuals to packages because the COVID-19 pandemic swept by way of the world. In April, Pony.ai introduced it had partnered with e-commerce platform Yamibuy to offer autonomous last-mile supply service to clients in Irvine. The brand new supply service was launched to offer further capability to deal with the surge of on-line orders triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, Pony.ai mentioned on the time.