Pony.ai, a global autonomous driving technology company, has formed a strategic joint venture with SANY Heavy Truck to create an autonomous truck brand. They will integrate Pony.ai’s “virtual driver” with SANY’s wire-controlled chassis and vehicle development to jointly develop high-end heavy trucks that are automotive-grade and have L4-class redundancies.
The joint venture plans to start small-scale deliveries of the robotrucks in 2022 and 2023. Mass production of the L4 truck will commence in 2024 and within a few years will reach an annual production of around 10,000 trucks.
The first prototype of the autonomous truck was built on SANY’s new EV truck platform and has already conducted road testing. The JV’s autonomous truck product portfolio will include a mix of new energy vehicles (NEV) and fuel-based, with the aim to increase the proportion of NEV trucks in the future.
“SANY has industry-leading heavy truck manufacturing technology and is pioneering the architecture of ‘new energy’ heavy trucks, intelligent network connections, and other key areas,” says James Peng, Pony.ai’s co-founder and CEO. “Integrating Pony.ai’s core autonomous driving technologies with the capabilities of SANY enables our joint venture to create a successful intelligent truck and logistics ecosystem for L4 autonomous trucking.”
“This partnership between SANY and Pony.ai is the ultimate collaboration between truck ‘body’ and truck ‘brain’ and thus makes it possible to mass produce high-level autonomous trucks,” comments Liang Linhe, chairman of SANY Heavy Truck. “This partnership, which features complementary strengths and competitive advantages, will advance autonomous trucking and logistics well into the future and will lead to a safer, more efficient, intelligent logistics system.”
Pony.ai has always been committed to developing autonomous driving software and hardware solutions in-house. In June, Pony.ai released its autonomous driving controller (ADC) designed for automotive-grade mass production. The ADC is built on the NVIDIA DRIVE Orin system-on-chip and will fully enable the trucks produced by the joint venture.
“The establishment of this new venture between Pony.ai and SANY is a significant milestone for the trucking industry,” states Rishi Dhall, vice president of automotive at NVIDIA. “Powered by NVIDIA DRIVE, this next-generation of new-energy autonomous trucks will enable the delivery of goods to address ever-growing e-commerce demands without compromising safety and reliability – while reducing the transportation industry’s dependence on fossil fuels.”