Pony.ai, a leading global autonomous driving company, Toyota Motor (China) Investment Co., Ltd. (TMCI) and GAC Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. (GTMC) will form a joint venture to advance the future mass production and large-scale deployment of fully driverless robotaxis.
The joint venture company will be established in 2023, with an estimated investment of more than RMB 1 billion (approx. US$139.2 million). GTMC will provide Pony.ai with Toyota branded battery electric vehicles, which are equipped with Toyota’s vehicle redundant systems that are suitable for L4 autonomous driving development. The vehicles will be equipped with Pony.ai’s advanced autonomous driving technology and will run on Pony.ai’s robotaxi network platform, PonyPilot+.
The joint venture combines Pony.ai’s autonomous driving technology and robotaxi operations experience, Toyota’s vehicle technologies, and GTMC’s advanced production experience. The partners say that it will provide the capacity for scaled-up robotaxi services, encourage the full commercialization of advanced autonomous mobility, and drive the development of the entire industry into a new stage.
The joint venture will deepen the collaboration between Pony.ai and Toyota. In August 2019, Pony.ai and Toyota announced they would jointly advance the development of autonomous vehicles in China. In September 2019, the two companies joined hands to lead autonomous driving testing on public roads in China, using Toyota's Lexus RX 450h model and Pony.ai’s autonomous driving systems.
In April 2023, the Toyota Sienna Autono-MaaS (S-AM) vehicle equipped with Pony.ai's sixth generation autonomous driving software and hardware system started public road testing in both Beijing and Guangzhou.
Among its self-owned fleets, Pony.ai currently has a combined fleet of around 200 Toyota and Lexus brand robotaxis, located in all four of China’s Tier-1 cities (Guangzhou, Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen) for road tests and public-facing robotaxi operations.