Pony.ai, a self-driving technology startup, tests its taxi service in the Nansha district of Guangzhou, Guangdong province. [Photos provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
Autonomous driving startup Pony.ai said on Wednesday that it has obtained an investment of $100 million from Saudi Arabia's special economic zone NEOM.
The two also plan to build a joint venture to develop, manufacture and deliver autonomous driving services, advanced vehicles, and smart vehicle infrastructure in NEOM and key markets in the Middle East and North Africa.
Terry Wong, executive director of Land Mobility at NEOM, said the investment in Pony.ai is an essential part of its ambitious plans to build a smart, zero-emission, autonomous multi-modal transport system.
"With this investment, we are moving ever closer towards a new future for commuters and travelers – one that is safer, more convenient, and more sustainable," he said.
The far-reaching and industry-transforming joint venture will include a local state-of-the-art autonomous vehicle manufacturing and R&D facility. NEOM is an ideal strategic industrial location for the development of Pony.ai's autonomous vehicle technology within the region.
James Peng, co-founder and CEO at Pony.ai, said: "As a leading global autonomous driving technology company, this major regional expansion for Pony.ai is a milestone for our global aspirations and our vision of 'autonomous mobility everywhere' and will advance the development of the global AV industry into a new stage."
NEOM's unique regional development provides a global living lab for advancing autonomous mobility as a key part of its multi-modal sustainable transport system, powered by 100 percent renewable energy.
Pony.ai is the first to operate fully driverless vehicles in Beijing and Guangzhou, Guangdong province. It is among the first in China to obtain licenses to operate fully driverless vehicles in all four tier-1 cities in China.