The partners will integrate the virtual driver technology of Pony.ai with SANY Heavy Truck’s technical expertise in wire-controlled chassis and vehicle development
Autonomous driving technology firm Pony.ai has formed a joint venture (JV) with SANY Heavy Truck to develop the next generation of autonomous trucks for mass production.
SANY Heavy Truck is a subsidiary of Chinese heavy equipment manufacturer SANY Heavy Industry.
Pony.ai and SANY Heavy Truck will work together to create an autonomous truck brand.
The partners will integrate Pony.ai’s virtual driver technology with the latter’s technical expertise in wire-controlled chassis and vehicle development. Using these, the duo aims to co-develop high-end heavy trucks that are automotive-grade and have L4-class redundancies.
The joint venture expects to begin small-scale deliveries of the robotrucks in 2022 and next year. Mass production of the L4 truck will begin in 2024 with an aim to reach an annual production of nearly 10,000 trucks within a few years.
SANY Heavy Truck chairman Liang Linhe said: “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.”
According to Pony.ai, the first prototype of the autonomous truck was developed on SANY’s new electric vehicle EV truck platform and has already gone through road testing.
The autonomous truck product portfolio of the joint venture will feature a mix of new energy vehicles (NEVs) and fuel-based. In the future, the parties aim to increase the numbers of NEV trucks.
Pony.ai co-founder and CEO James Peng said: “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.
“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.”
Earlier this year, Pony.ai created a joint venture called Cyantron with Chinese logistics firm Sinotrans with an aim to develop a smart logistics network that will feature self-driving trucking technologies.