Self-driving car company Pony.ai plans to supply robotic trucks to China.

Tech startup Pony.ai announced on Thursday that it plans to mass-produce self-driving trucks with the help of equipment giant Sany Heavy Industry.

Pony.ai

BEIJING — Tech startup Pony.ai announced on Thursday that it plans to mass-produce self-driving trucks in China with the equipment giant. Sledge Heavy industry.

According to a press release, annual production will reach around 10,000 trucks “within a few years.” Small-scale deliveries should begin this year and next, and mass production should begin in 2024.

According to Pony.ai, the trucks will be equipped with “Level 4” autonomous driving technology, which will allow the vehicle to be fully driven on motorways and city roads. “L4” is part of an industry classification system that stands for fully autonomous driving under certain conditions.

According to current regulations in China, robotic trucks will not be able to operate fully autonomously.

Pony.ai said it only has approvals to test autonomous trucks in Beijing and Guangzhou. But the company said it expects to use L4 trucks in China as regulations are developed.

The Pony.ai autonomous driving system uses Nvidia Orin disk chip, similar to several Chinese electric vehicle companies that offer the driver driving assistance technology.

Some, but not all, of the planned trucks will be “new energy vehicles”, a category that includes electric vehicles.

On Thursday, Pony.ai declined to provide further details on the cost of the truck and whether the trucks would only be available in China.

Sany has offices around the world, while Pony.ai also operates in the US. The deal to mass-produce robot trucks is part of a strategic joint venture between Pony.ai and Sany Heavy Truck, a subsidiary of Sany.

Analysts usually expect robot trucks take off faster than robot taxis due to the more uniform nature of truck routes on motorways. Daily truck rides typically last several hours compared to much shorter taxi rides.

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