Pony.ai has announced it is teaming up with Toyota Motor (China) Investment Co., Ltd. (TMCI) and GAC Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. (GTMC) to form a joint venture bring fully driverless robotaxis into mass production and widespread deployment. The trio of companies will inject over one billion yuan (approximately $139 million) into this initiative.
The newly announced joint venture, set to be officially established later this year, will consist of GTMC contributing Toyota-branded battery electric vehicles (BEVs), equipped with Toyota’s vehicle redundant systems tailored for L4 autonomous driving. These vehicles will include Pony.ai’s autonomous driving technology, and operate on the PonyPilot+ robotaxi network platform.
Specifics about the timeline, which BEVs will be included, or the quantity of vehicles were not announced. However, in a press briefing to announce the partnership, models of the Toyota bZ4x were part of the signing ceremony (seen above).
Toyota’s move into this venture is a continuation of its partnership with Pony.ai, which began in 2019 through a $400 million investment by the Japanese automaker. In April 2023, the Toyota Sienna Autono-MaaS (S-AM) vehicle, equipped with Pony.ai’s sixth-generation autonomous driving software and hardware system, started public road testing across Beijing and Guangzhou.
Pony.ai’s robotaxi fleet in China consists of approximately 200 Toyota and Lexus brand robotaxis, located in cities such as Guangzhou, Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen.