Pony, investor Toyota partner to ‘mass produce’ robotaxis in China


Share post:

Autonomous-driving company Pony.ai and Toyota say they’re teaming up with the goal of one day cranking out a bunch of “fully driverless robotaxis.”

The two companies intend to kick off their partnership sometime this year with around $139 million in capital from GAC Toyota Motor Co. — a joint venture between Toyota China and GAC, a Chinese state-owned automaker.

The investment follows Toyota’s move to pump about $400 million into Pony back in 2020. Going forward, Toyota says it’ll give Pony an unspecified number of its EVs, while Pony will outfit them with autonomous-driving tech and the firm’s “robotaxi network platform.” 

Without context, $139 million may sound like a lot, but Pony has raised more than a billion dollars since its founding in 2016. Things arguably haven’t gone smoothly throughout the self-driving developer’s lifetime.

In 2021, Pony kicked off driverless-vehicle testing in California, only to see its permit suspended six months later. The same year, the company seemed to shrink its autonomous trucking ambitions when it consolidated its R&D teams and shed a couple executives. The next year, Pony recalled its autonomous-driving software and sued two former staffers for allegedly swiping trade secrets when they left to found a startup called Qingtian Truck. Yet, around the same time, Pony claimed to be worth $8.5 billion (and that’s the last we’ve heard of its valuation to date).

Pony isn’t alone in its trials. The entire autonomous vehicle industry, once a darling in the VC world, has gone through a consolidation that has seen numerous startups wither and disappear, particularly in the United States. The few that remain — a small group of well-funded companies that are either publicly traded or owned by large corporations — are starting to scale up commercial operations, albeit slower than perhaps originally forecast. 

Source link

Lisa Holden
Lisa Holden
Lisa Holden is a news writer for LinkDaddy News. She writes health, sport, tech, and more. Some of her favorite topics include the latest trends in fitness and wellness, the best ways to use technology to improve your life, and the latest developments in medical research.

Recent posts

Related articles

Kick streamers consider leaving over CEO’s comments in a sex worker ‘prank’ stream

Streamers are leaving Kick en masse in protest of the platform’s lack of safety guidelines, after a...

VW bails on its plan for a $2.1B EV plant in Germany

Volkswagen’s $2.1 billion plan to launch a dedicated electric-vehicle factory in Wolfsburg, Germany is kaput.  The automaker instead...

When predatory investors damage your chances of success

Welcome to Startups Weekly. Sign up here to get it in your inbox every Friday. You know what...

Pudgy Penguins’ approach may be the answer to fixing NFTs’ revenue problems

Pudgy Penguins was once solely known for its 8,888 NFT collection. But ever since 24-year-old Luca Netz...

VC Office Hours: How data can help improve social impact investing

Erin Harkless Moore was always interested in math. So she headed to Wall Street. “It was intoxicating...

Two large equity funds launched this week. What gives?

Two large equity funds came out of the gate this week. So, what gives? Earlier this year...

TechCrunch+ Roundup: How to pitch 7 VCs, building AI moats, immigration law Q&A

Last week at TechCrunch Disrupt (recaps coming soon), I spent less time than usual in the green...

Startups may have trouble finding their enterprise footing

The software spend squeeze is lessening, new data from Battery Ventures indicates. According to the venture capital...