It seems like every city is testing driverless cars these days. Guangzhou, China seems to be the next location courtesy of artificial intelligence company Pony.ai.
The company recently announced the Pony Pilot, which is a test project for a “product-ready” fleet of autonomous vehicles. As of now, the program is only available by invitation only to Pony.ai employees and select affiliates. The company, who has offices in Guangzhou, Beijing and Freemont, California, made the announcement at the 2019 Shanghai Auto Show.
PonyPilot Self-Driving Cars to Cover 30 Miles in Nansha District
The PonyPilot will be covering about 30 square miles of the city’s central Nansha district. The area includes office buildings, hotels, commercial shops, and residential areas. To hail a car, customers can simply use the smartphone app.
The driverless vehicles use point-to-point dynamic routing during travel. Riders can monitor their vehicle’s location and driving decisions through screens mounted in the dashboards.
PonyAlpha is Milestone for China Autonomous Driving
Back in September 2018, Pony.ai vehicles debuted their self-driving system: PonyAlpha. The system, which is being hailed as a milestone for China’s autonomous driving industry, includes increased sensor coverage provided by additional LiDARs, radars, and cameras. The full sensor suite can see distances of roughly 200 meters, enabling the recognition of a wider variety of driving scenarios at even greater speeds. The PonyAlpha is a result of extensive testing throughout China and the United States.
“L4 (Level 4) and L5 (Level 5) autonomous vehicle technology is extremely complex and challenging, but this is definitely not a reason to shy away from it. In fact, we are encouraged and invigorated by what we have learned. We are continually applying our learnings to solve some of the biggest tech challenges in our industry today,” adds Tiancheng Lou, Co-founder, and CTO of Pony.ai.
Pony.ai Testing Driverless Trucks
In addition to Guangzhou, Poni.ai is also testing the driverless vehicles in Freemont and Beijing. The company isn’t stopping with just driverless cars as they’ve also been making strides with autonomous trucks.
According to a press release, an internal team has been established to develop L4/L5 technology for trucking applications. The team has already completed a full system retrofit and started testing the self-driving trucks on public roads.