This is the first time that American local governments have issued automatic driving service licenses to Chinese enterprises. At present, many enterprises are betting on the future of urban traffic driverless.
The two companies said they had started trial services on a small scale before they officially launched the service. Pony.ai said it currently operates more than 10 autopilot vehicles in California.
In 2016, Xiao Jianxiong, a former assistant professor at Princeton University, founded AutoX, an automated driving technology company with offices in the United States and China, and moved its headquarters from Silicon Valley to Hong Kong with the goal of popularizing driverless technology.
Penny. ai, founded by two former Baidu executives, was valued at $1.7 billion in the latest round of financing in April. At that time, Beijing Kunlun Wanwei Technology invested $50 million in Pony. ai, a Guangzhou-based startup, to acquire a 3% stake.
AutoX and ony. AI are one of the few self-driving start-ups in China that started in Silicon Valley. At present, these companies continue to grow in China, aiming at introducing self-driving taxi services on public roads.
In February, the California Motor Vehicle Administration disclosed in an annual report 48 data-submitting autopilot companies, 11 of which are headquartered in China or have major operations in China.
Over the past few years, the autopilot industry has attracted billions of dollars in investment and is becoming one of the key areas of AI.
California's autopilot statistics show that in the 12 months to November last year, Waymo autopilot would pull out from the autopilot once every 11000 miles, while Cruise self driving vehicles would quit on average 5200 miles per vehicle.
By contrast, Pony. ai, the leading Chinese autopilot company, needs a manual intervention for every 1022 miles it travels. But the gap is narrowing, and the company said that when it first tested on California roads, it needed a manual intervention for every 100 miles it traveled.