Jun 21, 2019 (China Knowledge) - Local authorities in California have now given approvals to two Chinese self-driving startups to offer ride-hailing services there.
The two companies, AutoX and Pony.ai have received permits from the California Public Utilities Commission earlier this week which enables them to operate self-driving ride-hailing services to public passengers.
The permits are also the first US robotaxi permits that have been issued to Chinese companies.
AutoX and Pony.ai are among a number of Chinese self-driving startups that started out in Silicon Valley but are now focusing their development efforts on mainland China with the goal of introducing robotic self-driving taxi services in the future.
Prior to this, the two companies had previously operated trail services among staff and a small group of preapproved users in both China and the US.
The self-driving sector has managed to attract billions of dollars in investment in recent year, shaping up to become a key sector in artificial intelligence where both the US and China are vying for supremacy.
However, data shows that Chinese companies still lag behind US companies in this aspect. For example, US self-driving startups Waymo and Cruise report drivers disengaging the auto-drive function once every 11,000 miles and 5,200 miles respectively over a 12-month period.
In contrast, Pony.ai which is already a market leader among Chinese self-driving companies reported a disengagement rate of once every 1,022 miles.
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