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Pony.ai receives approval for paid autonomous robotaxi services in Beijing

Pony.ai has received approval to run paid autonomous Robotaxi services in the Beijing Intelligent Networked Vehicle Policy Pilot Zone in southeastern Beijing. With this approval, Pony.ai will be permitted to charge fees for Robotaxi services provided to the public.

This represents a significant milestone on the company’s path to commercialization, as Pony.ai’s passenger car business has officially moved from the testing to the commercialization stage. Beijing, China’s capital city, is the first Tier-1 city in China to clarify Robotaxi commercialization, allowing self-driving companies to charge for their autonomous services.

After obtaining the commercial license, PonyPilot+, which previously operated as a free service on a regular basis in Beijing’s high-level autonomous driving demonstration zone (in Yizhuang, Beijing), will transition from a free experience to a fee-based service. The PonyPilot+ commercialization pilot area covers central areas of Yizhuang (60 square kilometers / 23.1 square miles) with about 200 travel stations in residential areas, commercial centers, and science and technology parks, with service hours operating from 8:30 am to 10:30 pm.

Through the mobile app and the in-car interface PonyHI, the self-driving Robotaxis will bring a safe, comfortable and convenient travel experience to the public. Passengers will be able to view their itinerary costs in both the mobile app and the in-car interactive interface PonyHI, and will be able to complete payment by scanning the QR code through Alipay or WeChat.


Supportive policies, development of safe technology, and public acceptance are the keys to accelerating commercialization of the autonomous driving industry, and Pony.ai has conducted abundant testing of the application scenarios and product forms of autonomous driving over the past five years. With the commencement of this new policy, we will be able to validate Pony.ai’s commercialization model. These permits mark the next stage in the development of autonomous driving technology.

—James Peng, Co-founder and CEO of Pony.ai

Founded in late 2016, Pony.ai has been a pioneer in autonomous mobility technologies and services across the US and China, spearheading public-facing Robotaxi pilots in both markets. Pony.ai has formed partnerships with leading OEMs including Toyota, Hyundai, GAC Group, and FAW Group.



So it is a limited range system (quite large, but still limited) with 200 "travel stations" which are presumably the get on/off locations (rather than full free form - get on and off anywhere - like a real taxi.
Progress, but Uber drivers are safe for the time being.
Also, why does it start at 8.30 am (and not say 7am) - are they trying to avoid the morning rush (it runs till 10.30 so the evening rush is in the service time).

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