In a statement self-driving tech startup Pony.ai said, it has obtained a taxi license in China which will allow it to monetize some of its driverless vehicles in the country since it will be allowed to charge fares on them.
The Toyota Motor Corp backed company said, it was the first autonomous driving company in China to be given this permit.
Chinese regulators have awarded it a license to operate 100 driverless vehicles in Guangzhou city located in the district of Nansha.
In 2021, Pony.ai had won an approval to launch paid driverless robotaxi services in Beijing and has since begun offering rides.
“In Beijing, however, rides are being offered in a much smaller, industrial zone on a trial basis,” said Pony.ai’s spokesperson.
In Nansha Pony.ai will operate in the entire district where passengers can hail and pay for rides with the company’s own app.
Initially such rides will feature safety drivers, but in time the company expects to remove them in ” the short to intermediate time frame”.
The development comes at a time when a thousands of startups are pouring billions of dollars into autonomous technology, to gain an early lead in what is slated to be the future of mobility.