Self Driving in China with startups Pony.ai and JingChi

China sees autonomous driving as an amalgamation of the latest technologies, including 5G, manufacturing and new energy. Research is underway on self-driving ships and autonomous rail transit, as well as cars.

More than 24 states in the US have introduced legislation on autonomous driving, whereas China is behind on the regulatory front. China is building self-driving test fields and working on guidelines for open-road tests.

Two months ago Beijing became China’s first city to green light open road test for autonomous cars. The National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic planning agency, also unveiled a three-year plan in December, making the development of smart cars a national priority.

Smart car demonstration zones in cities like Shanghai, Hangzhou, Chongqing and Wuhan, more cities are expected to follow Beijing’s lead to relax open road tests in the second half of the year.

Autonomous driving start-ups Pony.ai and JingChi moved their global headquarters to Guangzhou from Silicon Valley last year. Both companies conducted test drives last week, with plans to roll out robotaxi services later in the year, enabling users to hail an autonomous ride via a booking app.

Pony.ai t recently completed a $112 million Series A funding round at an undisclosed valuation. Morningside Venture Capital and Legend Capital, two Chinese venture firms, led the round, and were joined by eight other venture firms, including Comcast Ventures, IDG Capital Partners, Polaris Capital Group, and Sequoia Capital. Its platform aims to connect a self-driving car’s sensors, software, cameras, and other technologies to create a system capable of Level 4 autonomy. A vehicle equipped with Pony.ai’s system would be able to operate on its own under certain confined scenarios, but still feature a steering wheel and pedals, making it similar to the systems auto supplier Aptiv is building.

Pony.ai is co-located in Silicon Valley and Guangzhou.

Pony.ai began operating its autonomous cars in Nansha, Guangzhou. This marks the first time a self-driving car company has made the service available to members of the general public in China. The company has also released a video of its autonomous car driving in rainy weather on the streets of Nansha.

JingChi raised $100 million

JingChi is a mobility company powered by artificial intelligence. We are committed to creating an innovative mobility solution for the China market where every trip will be safe, efficient, cost-effective and leisurely.

In September, 2017, JingChi, the leading self-driving technology company from China, completed a combined $52 million pre-A investment round from lead investor Qiming Venture, strategic investor NVIDIA GPU Ventures, and a consortium of other investors. The investment allows JingChi to rapidly expand its research and development teams globally, and ramp up deployment of a fully Level 4 autonomous driving test fleet in China by the end of 2017. Duane Kuang, Founding Partner at Qiming, will join JingChi’s board of directors.

JingChi plans to deploy hundreds of autonomous vehicles powered by NVIDIA DRIVE PX in 2018 to provide a “Robotaxi” ride-hailing service in Anqing City.

JingChi uses Multi-sensor fusion based on LiDAR

LiDAR data is the backbone for perceiving objects around the vehicle. Sensor fusion combines LiDAR point cloud with radar and camera data, which provides data redundancy and allows the vehicle to perceive its surroundings with much more detail compared with individual sensors.

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