Many people assume that fully autonomous cars will never be a reality. Nevertheless, it seems that the development is really moving forward, which is also shown by the ever-increasing number of pilot projects, which are gradually getting closer to commercial deployment. One of them has even achieved this. Specifically, it is a company Pony.ai, which is backed by, for example, Toyota, Volkswagen or GAC Group. The company was founded at the end of 2016, and since the end of 2018 its autonomous taxis have been tested on Chinese streets in Beijing and Guangzhou. To date, over 700,000 journeys have been made, 80% of users have used the service repeatedly and the vast majority (99%) have expressed a positive rating.
Pony.ai is the first company to obtain an official taxi license in China. So it is not a permit for some test operation, but for a really commercial deployment of the service. For example, the rules required 24 months of testing in China and / or other countries, at least 1 million test kilometers, 200,000 test kilometers in the Canton area, and not a single accident where the company’s autonomous cars would be to blame. Pony.ai is so far the only company that has succeeded.
Thus, 100 robotaxi will now be deployed in Canton and passengers can order and pay for the ride via the PonyPilot + App. They will be open from 08:30 to 22:30 for standard taxi fees in the area. Although there will still be safety drivers in the cars from the beginning, they should disappear relatively quickly. The service should also appear in two other Chinese cities this year (from Tier-1, leaving Beijing, Shanghai or Shenzhen, while Beijing is most likely due to tests already carried out) and mass deployment is planned for 2024/2025.
Source: Svět hardware by www.svethardware.cz.
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