Autonomous driving startup Pony.ai has announced a significant milestone with a $100 million investment from Saudi Arabia's NEOM, a special economic zone. This collaboration marks the beginning of a strategic partnership that extends beyond financial support, as the two entities plan to develop, manufacture, and deliver autonomous driving services, advanced vehicles, and smart vehicle infrastructure.
NEOM's Executive Director of Land Mobility, Terry Wong, emphasized the importance of this investment in realizing NEOM's ambitious vision for a smart, zero-emission, and autonomous multi-modal transport system. He stated, “With this investment, we are moving ever closer towards a new future for commuters and travelers – one that is safer, more convenient, and more sustainable.”
The joint venture between Pony.ai and NEOM aims to have a profound and industry-transforming impact, encompassing the establishment of a state-of-the-art autonomous vehicle manufacturing and research and development (R&D) facility. This partnership is strategically positioned to leverage NEOM's unique regional development, making it an ideal location for the advancement of Pony.ai's autonomous vehicle technology within the Middle East and North Africa.
James Peng, co-founder and CEO of Pony.ai, expressed the company's global aspirations, stating, “As a leading global autonomous driving technology company, this major regional expansion for Pony.ai is a milestone for our global aspirations and our vision of ‘autonomous mobility everywhere' and will advance the development of the global AV industry into a new stage.”
NEOM's regional development provides a global living laboratory for the advancement of autonomous mobility, forming a critical component of its multi-modal sustainable transport system, which relies entirely on 100 percent renewable energy sources.
Pony.ai has gained recognition as one of the pioneers in autonomous driving technology. The company holds the distinction of being the first to operate fully driverless vehicles in Beijing and Guangzhou, Guangdong province. It is also among the first entities in China to secure licenses for the operation of fully driverless vehicles in all four tier-1 cities in the country.
This collaboration between Pony.ai and NEOM represents a significant step forward in the global development and deployment of autonomous driving technology and services, with a particular focus on enhancing transportation and mobility solutions in the Middle East and North Africa.