Chinese autonomous driving startup Pony.ai has achieved a significant milestone by obtaining Guangzhou's inaugural autonomous truck formation driving test license. This authorization allows Pony.ai to conduct autonomous truck testing in the southern Chinese city, marking a pivotal development in its pursuit of advancing autonomous trucking capabilities, particularly for bulk commodities transportation in fleets.
In an official press release, Pony.ai outlined its commitment to scaling up its autonomous trucking business, emphasizing the economic and operational benefits of its innovative “1+N” fleet model. This model features one leading autonomous truck guiding multiple Level 4 (L4) autonomous trucks, a configuration designed to optimize operational costs and enhance transportation efficiency.
The adoption of this model is expected to not only reduce operating expenses for Pony.ai but also contribute to improvements in road usage efficiency, alleviate road congestion, and decrease the incidence of traffic accidents, according to statements from the company.
Pony.ai currently boasts a fleet of five autonomous trucks that have been granted licenses for formation driving testing. This latest development follows the company's initial achievement of securing an autonomous truck test license in Guangdong province in December 2020, serving as the foundation for the subsequent acquisition of the formation driving test license.
With a comprehensive testing program spanning various locations in China, Pony.ai has focused on trunk logistics and dedicated logistics freight transport, showcasing the adaptability of autonomous driving in diverse road and weather conditions. The company reports an impressive track record, with its autonomous trucks covering over 3 million kilometers of test mileage and logging more than 610,000 kilometers of commercial operation. During this period, these vehicles have transported nearly 40,000 tons of freight.