Autonomous driving technology company Pony.ai recently formed a joint venture with Sinotrans, part of China Merchants Group and one of China’s leading logistics and freight forwarding companies. The two companies will work together to build a smart logistics network featuring autonomous driving trucking technologies.
The joint venture is expected to commence operations early this year with an intelligent logistics fleet consisting of more than 100 trucks. Over time, this fleet size is expected to grow substantially, incorporating cutting edge autonomous driving technologies, along with sophisticated logistics technology.
In June 2021, PonyTron and Sinotrans launched a pilot program testing autonomous driving technologies for long-haul logistics, laying a solid foundation for the new joint venture.
Sinotrans aims to build a world-class business platform with intelligent logistics services. Its third-party logistics and freight forwarding services were ranked seventh and third globally, according to a 2020 Armstrong & Associates ranking.
PonyTron, Pony.ai’s autonomous trucking business unit, has grown rapidly since its creation in late 2020 with milestones including: obtaining driverless trucking road test licenses in both Guangzhou and Beijing; obtaining a permit to test self-driving trucks on Beijing’s highways; and obtaining a license to offer commercial road transport services in China.
By the end of November 2021, PonyTron had accumulated 50,000 kilometers (more than 31,000 miles) of commercial operation and had delivered more than 16,400 tons of goods.
On 5 December, Pony.ai tested its PonyTron autonomous truck on a highway in Beijing, the first time any self-driving company had conducted autonomous trucking tests on an open highway in China.
Pony.ai has formed partnerships with leading OEMs including Toyota, Hyundai, GAC Group, and FAW Group.