As the self driving car industry works towards commercializing the autonomous vehicle technology, Pony.ai has plans to mass-produce its Level 4 self-driving system by 2023. The intent was shared by the company on its public WeChat account in Shanghai during the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) held recently.
SAE International, the US engineering standards group, classifies autonomous driving from Level 0 to Level 5, with Level 4 referring to the features that enable a vehicle to drive itself under most circumstances without human intervention. The Level 4 system will be powered by a new sensing platform equipped with Iris LiDAR sensors developed by US-based Luminar Technologies, according to the post. The sensors are only 10 cm in height, but are still capable of detecting objects up to 500 meters (1,640 feet) away, according to Luminar.
At present, Pony.ai is testing its fleet of over 200 robotaxis in the Chinese cities of Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing, as well as Irvine and Fremont in California. The Toyota-backed company has also ventured into the autonomous freight market. Its self-driving trucks have traveled more than 37,000 km and transported over 13,000 tons of goods since May, when its smart logistics subsidiary obtained a license to conduct commercial autonomous freight operations in Guangzhou, according to Pony.ai Vice President, Li Hengyu.
Users will be able to hail self-driving cars in Jiading district, Shanghai through the PonyPilot+ App, the company said at the 2021 WAIC (World Artificial Intelligence Conference). The fleet consists of modified Lexus RX vehicles armed with Pony.ai’s latest autonomous driving system.
Pony.ai has also deployed its Robotaxi service in Guangzhou, Beijing, Irvine and Fremont. In May, the company announced the service it offers in Beijing had been upgraded to PonyPilot+. From May 10 onwards, PonyPilot+ went into service in a field of up to 150 square kilometers in Beijing Economic-Technological Development Area. Including roughly 150 stops, the core service area for Pony.ai’s Robotaxi fleet contains subway stations, parks, sports complexes, business districts, as well as residential quarters.
In late June, the startup said fully driverless vehicles had joined the Robotaxi fleet to serve commuters in Nansha district, Guangzhou. At the 2021 WAIC, Pony.ai also unveiled the latest development progress of its autonomous truck business. After receiving the freight road transport business permit from Nansha district’s local authority in late April, Pony.ai’s self-driving trucks have so far travelled for 37,466 kilometers to transport roughly 13,650 tons of goods.
- AutoNews & GeoSpatialWorld