FREMONT — Pony.ai, which develops software for self-driving cars, has raised $100 million from NEOM, a region in northwest Saudi Arabia, through the NEOM Investment Fund (NIF). The company will form a joint venture that will establish autonomous technology solutions for the region.
Through the venture, NEOM and Pony.ai will develop, manufacture and deliver autonomous driving services, advanced vehicles, and smart vehicle infrastructure in NEOM and key markets in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
Majid Mufti, CEO of NIF said: “This investment aligns with the ambitious plans announced by NEOM to achieve autonomous transportation solutions for the region. Pony.ai’s autonomous driving technology is already available today and we are excited to be able to utilize it in NEOM in the near future.”
Terry Wong, Executive Director, Land Mobility, NEOM, said: “The investment in Pony.ai is an essential part of our ambitious plans to build a smart, zero-emission, autonomous multi-modal transport system, connecting people and communities across NEOM, while incubating new technologies for the benefit of the world. With this investment, we are moving ever closer towards a new future for commuters and travelers – one that is safer, more convenient, and more sustainable.”
The far-reaching and industry-transforming joint venture will include a local state-of-the-art autonomous vehicle manufacturing and R&D facility. NEOM is an ideal strategic industrial location for the development of Pony.ai’s autonomous vehicle technology within the region.
Dr. James Peng, co-founder and CEO at Pony.ai, added: “We are delighted to partner with NEOM, to combine Pony.ai’s world-class autonomous driving technology and operations experience with NEOM’s vision to be the ‘the land of the future, where the greatest minds and best talents are empowered to embody pioneering ideas’ to develop, manufacture and deliver autonomous mobility services and vehicles to the region. As a leading global autonomous driving technology company, this major regional expansion for Pony.ai is a milestone for our global aspirations and our vision of ‘autonomous mobility everywhere’ and will advance the development of the global AV industry into a new stage.”
NEOM’s unique regional development provides a global living lab for advancing autonomous mobility as a key part of its multi-modal sustainable transport system, powered by 100% renewable energy. Being built from the ground up, without the challenge of existing infrastructure, NEOM offers the ideal environment for refining and implementing cutting-edge autonomous mobility solutions on land, sea and air – and builds on its previous investments in eVTOL and electric seaglider technologies.
Pony.ai is the first to operate fully driverless vehicles in both Beijing and Guangzhou and is among the first in China to obtain licenses to operate fully driverless vehicles in all four Tier-1 Cities in China (Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Shenzhen).
Pony.ai announced a joint venture with Toyota in August to advance the future mass production and large-scale deployment of fully driverless robotaxis.