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CHINA BRIEF | Self-driving startup Pony.ai kicks off robotaxi service in Fremont, California

The service will cover rides of about 2.5 kilometers.

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Guangzhou-headquartered autonomous vehicle startup Pony.ai has established a partnership with the city government of Fremont, California, to provide autonomous ride-hailing services to its employees, the company announced on Wednesday.

Kicked off on February 25, the service will cover rides of about 2.5 kilometers between the local transport hub, called Amtrak-ACE station, to some public buildings of Fremont including the city hall. Customers will be able to use the PonyPilot app on their smartphones to order rides which will be offered via Pony.ai’s full-stack autonomous vehicles, said the firm.

The startup will continue to monitor the service and is considering expanding its operation to other areas of Fremont, the company added.

Pony.ai was founded in 2016 by James Peng and Tiancheng Lou, former employees of Google and Baidu, respectively. In 2018, the firm launched an autonomous robotaxi service named PonyPilot, which has been tested in Guangzhou and Beijing, as well as in Irvine, California.

This article is part of KrASIA’s “China Brief” section, where KrASIA’s reporters will provide quick daily updates about the tech ecosystem in China.