$8.5 Billion Valuation Suggests a Self-Driving Future

The Toyota-backed Pony.ai just recently closed their latest round of funding – placing the company at an $8.5 billion valuation.

Promises of full self-driving services such as Waymo and Cruise have dominated headlines over the past few years, but now with this aggressive valuation on the books, we may begin to see this technology hit the streets sooner rather than later.

Pony.ai is currently operating in four cities: Guangzhou, Beijing, Irvine, CA, and Fremont, CA. Riders can hail a driverless taxi via the Pony.ai app, but as of right now, safety drivers are still required to be behind the wheel during the duration of the trip.

Great progress has been made in the driverless sector in recent years. Elon Musk went on record in January saying that Tesla cars will achieve full self driving capability by the end of 2022. However, the industry is still reeling from the fatal self-driving Uber accident in 2018.

One thing is clear: a major hurdle for full adoption of the technology will be consumer’s confidence in the safety of the product. But for now, Pony.ai said their focus is on hiring and expanding their test markets.