Pony.ai tests robo-taxi program on staff

Guangzhou based self-driving startup Pony.ai is joining an exclusive club of companies that have launched autonomous ride-hailing programs. At this year’s Shanghai Auto Show, it took the wraps off of PonyPilot, a test project for “product-ready” driverless cars within a geofenced area in Guangzhou. It’s currently available to Pony.ai employees and “select affiliates” by invitation only, and CEO James Peng says it’s the culmination of years of continuous testing in the Nansha district, according to Venture Beat.

Pony.ai says that PonyPilot covers roughly 50 square kilometers​ of central Nansha, including commercial plazas, office buildings, landmark hotels, libraries, and residential complexes. Riders are able to hail cars at any predetermined point with a smartphone app available through WeChat, and travel using point-to-point dynamic routing to any other predetermined point within the area. During rides, passengers can follow their vehicle’s location and driving decisions through mounted in-cabin dashboards.

Pony.ai says it might consider opening PonyPilot to the public in the future, and potentially beyond the confines of Nansha. The company is currently testing driverless cars in Fremont, California and Beijing, in addition to Guangzhou. Read more.