Rivals WeRide, Pony Back Ride Hailing Firm OnTime

OnTime, Pony.ai, WeRide.ai, ridesharing, China

Rival Chinese autonomous driving companies WeRide.ai and Pony.ai have joined forces to invest in a $153 million funding round for ride-hailing platform OnTime.

As Tech Funding News reported Wednesday (April 27), OnTime will use the funding from the Series A to build a fleet of more than 200 robotaxis, due to be tested later this year. The company also wants to expand its “connected vehicle-to-everything” fleet to more than 1,000 cars and upgrade its autonomous driving system.

According to the report, OnTime — owned by Chinese automobile conglomerate GAC Group — works with WeRide, which is launching autonomous driving operations in 15 cities around the world, while also working on testing, pioneering autonomous driving products and commercialization.

WeRide and OnTime had collaborated before, integrating their systems and demonstrating their tech at the Guangzhou Auto Show in 2021. Additionally, the report noted that WeRide has been allied with GAC for a while, investing in the company last year and teaming up to build robotaxis that use WeRide’s tech.

The report noted that these close ties make Pony’s involvement in the funding a bit of a “mystery,” arguing that it makes sense for GAC to have more than one autonomous driving solution to promote competition. Pony is backed by Toyota.

In January, Pony announced it was working with Chinese logistics company Sinotrans to launch a smart logistics network that uses autonomous driving trucking technologies. The company said the operation would involve a fleet of more than 100 trucks, with that number growing overtime.

See also: Pony.ai, Sinotrans Collaborate on Driverless Trucking

The collaboration followed a pilot program in June 2021 that saw PonyTron, Pony’s trucking business unit, and Sinotrans launch a test for long-haul logistics. In December 2021, Pony also tested its PonyTron autonomous truck on a highway in Beijing, marking the first time any self-driving operation had conducted autonomous trucking tests on an open roadway in China.