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HomeTechnologyPony.ai says it's first self-driving firm to get taxi license in China

Pony.ai says it’s first self-driving firm to get taxi license in China

Autonomous driving start-up Pony.ai can collect fares for robotaxi rides in parts of two major Chinese cities as of Sunday.Pony.ai handoutBEIJING — Self-driving start-up Pony.ai announced Sunday it received a taxi license, the first of its kind in China.The license allows Pony.ai to operate 100 self-driving cars as traditional taxis in the Nansha district of the southern city of Guangzhou, the company said.The Chinese start-up, which is backed by Toyota, received approval from Beijing city late last year to charge fees to operate a commercial robotaxi business in a suburban district of the city. It is not the same as a taxi licence.Baidu’s Apollo Go also received approval in the same Beijing district last year.Pony.ai was valued at $8.5 billion in early March. The company said its Nansha taxi license required 24 months of autonomous driving testing in China and/or other countries, and no involvement in any active liability traffic accidents, among other factors.The start-up said it plans to launch commercial robotaxi businesses in two other large Chinese cities next year. The company is already testing self-driving cars in those cities and in California. Robotaxis in China currently have a human driver present for safety.— CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal contributed to this report.

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