Autonomous driving startup Pony.ai has raised USD 267 million in its Series C round led by the Teachers’ Innovation Platform, an investment vehicle of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, according to a WeChat post from the company on Friday.
Existing investors including Fidelity China Special Situations PLC, 5Y Capital, Clearvue Capital, and Eight Roads also joined this round, after which the company is now valued at above USD 5.3 billion.
Pony.ai has collected more than USD 1 billion from VC investors so far since the company was founded in late 2016 in Fremont, California.
The company, which has operations both in China and the US, will speed up R&D to bring its autonomous driving technologies to the global market with the new funds, said co-founder and CEO James Peng, according to the WeChat post.
Pony.ai claims on its website to be the first to launch and offer a public-facing robotaxi service in California and in China. The company says it started to provide such services as early as 2018 in Guangzhou and in 2019 in California.
The startup is one of the few companies in the world that has leveraged self-driving vehicles to transport human passengers.
Dublin-based Aptiv has allowed residents in Las Vegas to hail a robotaxi via the Lyft app since May 2018. Waymo has started to offer driverless rides to some paying customers and employees as of October 2019 in Phoenix and Silicon Valley in the US.
In China, Guangzhou-based WeRide has started to offer public-facing robotaxi services since late November of last year, followed by Baidu, which kicked off its robotaxi services first in Changsha, Central China’s Hunan province and later in Beijing and other cities.