Pony.ai and SANY Autonomous Trucks JV

  • August 3, 2022
  • William Payne

Pony.ai has formed a joint venture with Chinese truck maker SANY to develop an autonomous truck brand. The two companies will combine Pony.ai’s “virtual driver” with SANY’s wire-controlled chassis technology to 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 begin in 2024. It is planned to ramp to an annual production of around 10,000 trucks within a few years.

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 (NEVs) and fuel-based, with the aim to increase the proportion of NEV trucks in the future.

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 enable the trucks produced by the joint venture.

‘New energy’ heavy trucks

“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,” said 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. 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,” said Liang Linhe, Chairman of SANY Heavy Truck.

“The establishment of this new venture between Pony.ai and SANY is a significant milestone for the trucking industry,” said Rishi Dhall, vice president of Automotive, 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.”

In April the Cyantron joint venture between Pony.ai and Sinotrans began operations. It aims to digitalise the transportation process.