SAIC AI Lab and AI developer Pony.ai announce a collaboration to design and implement driverless level 4 autonomous robotaxis. This will be their new project to unveil a fully autonomous EV concept from the fleet that they build. In the past, SAIC has promised to have 40 to 60 level 4 autonomous robotaxis on streets in China.
It is known that SAIC Motor Corporation is a Chinese state-owned automotive company based in Shanghai, and one of the largest automakers in the country. SAIC-owned brands like MG Motor, but the Chinese conglomerate also produces vehicles through joint ventures with companies like Volkswagen and GM. It stated that it was embracing AI and that SAIC might as well stand for Shanghai AI Corporation instead of Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation.
Since then, SAIC Motor has spun out its own autonomous-focused division called SAIC AI Lab, which will be the entity spearheading the collaboration with an autonomous driving specialist, Pony.ai. A specialist that already has level 4 autonomous robotaxis operating paid rides in the streets of China. Together, both teams look to combine vehicle manufacturing know-how with AI expertise, to offer a fleet of electric robotaxis designed from the ground up.
The two tech companies shared details of their new autonomous robotaxi venture in a press release, outlining some of the technical specs of the concept EV, as well as goals for mass production. Unlike others, level 4 autonomous robotaxis operating using Pony.ai’s technology, this upcoming fleet will be purpose-built from the ground up rather than being implemented on an existing EV. The current concept being showcased today is based on a SAIC Marvel R model, however.
Furthermore, these companies state they will team up to develop the EV’s chassis, intelligent cockpit, human-machine interface, remote assistance, and other intelligent driving technologies. Both state that the goal of reaching mass production on these purpose-built autonomous EVs is to accelerate widespread commercial adoption of robotaxis services and autonomous driving as a whole throughout China. SAIC AI Lab general manager Dang Xiang elaborated. ” Pony.ai is a global leader in autonomous driving. SAIC AI Lab has mature technical strengths in driverless operation, vehicle development, and intelligent cockpit. Its robotaxi project has been affirmed by the market. It is believed that the cooperation between the two companies will accelerate commercialization progress, upgrade mobility services, and advance the establishment of intelligent urban transportation.”
Also, the current concept vehicle that made its debut is equipped with 17 integrated automotive-grade sensors to create a 360-degree visual range covering 200 meters, eliminating blind spots around the entire vehicle. All are powered by Pony.ai’s latest generation of autonomous technology.