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​Pony.ai’s automaking project said to stall

Gabriella From Gasgoo| November 17 , 2021 15:41 BJT

Beijing (Gasgoo)- China’s high-profile autonomous driving startup, Pony.ai’s recently announced automaking project is stalled, according to local media 36kr.

​Pony.ai’s automaking project said to stall

Photo credit: Pony.ai

Several sources disclosed that the company’s young automaking team is undergoing unexpected personnel changes, with multiple members leaving the company for other auto startups.

As a response to the report, the company called the automaking rumor “false information”. “We are steadily promoting the commercialization and application of autonomous driving related products. Relevant team will focus on the design of autonomous systems, rather than vehicle design,” the company said in a statement.

In June this year, Pony.ai’s car-making project was exposed to the public. According to the report at that time, the company’s primary plan was to start from building passenger vehicles and even poached talents from China’s EV startup XPeng. Inc. Neither did the company rule out cooperation with other experienced carmakers.

Gasgoo contacted Pony.ai shortly after the June report about the automaking project and was responded that “the company will evaluate the potential of each business scopes, and adjust the structure accordingly”.

Months later, it was said that Pony.ai announced that its commercial vehicle autonomous driving team had merged with its passenger vehicle R&D team at an event in September.

Notably, the company treated the commercial vehicle segment as its main strategic focus in 2020, with massive investments and resources allocated to it. In March, the commercial vehicle unit was made independent as its own brand, PonyTron.

​Pony.ai’s automaking project said to stall

Photo credit: Pony.ai

The leader of Pony.ai’s commercial vehicle sector, Pan Zhenhao, and the leader of its domestic autonomous driving planning and control team, Sun Haowen, has left the company. 

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