Starting Sunday, startup for autonomous driving Pony.ai can collect tariffs for robot taxi trips in areas of two major Chinese cities.
BEIJING – Self-governing startup Pony.ai announced on Sunday that it has received a taxi license, the first license of its kind in China.
The license allows Pony.ai to drive 100 self-driving cars as traditional taxis in the Nansha district in southern Guangzhou, the company said.
A Chinese startup backed by Toyota received permission from Beijing late last year to charge a fee to run a commercial robot taxi business in a suburban area. It’s not the same as a taxi license.
Apollo Go from Baidu also received approval in the same district of Beijing last year.
In early March, Pony.ai was valued at $ 8.5 billion. The company said its Nansha taxi license requires a 24-month stand-alone driving test in China and / or other countries and is not involved in any traffic accidents, among other factors.
The startup said it plans to launch commercial robotic taxis in two other major Chinese cities next year. The company is already testing cars in these cities and in California.
A human driver is currently present at Robotaxis in China for safety.
– Arjun Harpal of CNBC contributed to this report.