Toyota invests $400m in Pony.ai with latest driverless tech bet

Self-driving vehicle technology provider Pony.ai has secured $400 million (£308.35m) from Toyota, pushing the company’s valuation to more than £2.31bn.

The company is focusing on deepening and expanding its collaboration with Toyota in mobility services. They will further boost their joint efforts in self-driving technology development and mobility service deployment. The latest strengthened partnership between the two companies will allow deeper integration of Pony.ai's self-driving vehicle system with Toyota’s robust vehicle platforms and technologies. Both the firms are also looking beyond the vehicle itself to explore further possibilities on mobility services.

Pony.ai, which has focused on safety and reliability for self-driving mobility since its inception in 2016, has been testing its Robotaxi pilot service, called PonyPilot, in China, since 2018. Pony.ai and Toyota will continue to work jointly to deliver on their shared vision of a safe and sustainable mobility future. They will focus on offering meaningful societal benefit by leveraging the technologies, know-how, and services of each company.

This is by no means the only investment Toyota has made in this space. With an aim to move beyond just vehicle manufacturing, in July the company announced investment of £462.5m in Didi Chuxing, a China-based ridesharing company. Stephen Zhu, the SVP of DiDi said: “DiDi is committed to helping our cities achieve new energy and smart transportation goals with partners from home and abroad. We look forward to combining DiDi’s expertise in AI-based large-scale mobility operations and Toyota’s leading connected vehicle technology to build a next-generation intelligent transportation framework for sustainable cities.”

The year before, Toyota made an investment of £385.4m into Uber’s autonomous car initiative in order to help ensure both firms emerge as leaders in the space.

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