The City of Fremont and autonomous technology company Pony.ai today launched a pilot program offering rides for a group of City employees via Pony.ai’s shared, on-demand, autonomous last-mile service. The participating employees will ride in Pony.ai autonomous vehicles from Fremont’s Amtrak/ACE Station to City Hall and City of Fremont Development Services Center.
“By partnering with a local autonomous technology firm Pony.ai, the City of Fremont is acting as a test bed for a transportation solution that has the potential to alleviate congestion, reduce carbon emissions, decrease the number of traffic accidents, and optimize vehicle and land usage,” Fremont Mayor Lily Mei said. “Together, we are laying the groundwork for a safer and smarter city.”
Each vehicle is equipped with Pony.ai’s autonomous driving technology along with a safety operator to ensure safe and smooth navigation of complex road scenarios. Pony.ai’s proprietary full-stack autonomous driving technology serves as the “brains” of the future vehicle, and will be a building block to the future Smart City.
The Fremont Mobility Action Plan, adopted in March 2019, addresses both regional and local traffic congestion challenges and outlines the goal of decreasing drive-alone commuting from 73% to 50% by 2040. The Pony.ai pilot program is one solution the City is exploring to help meet this goal and serve the internal travel demands of Fremont’s growing population of 230,000 residents.
“In the long term, Pony.ai aims to offer a service that not only addresses the community’s daily transit needs, but also serves as a key enabler to a broader smart city infrastructure in Fremont and beyond,” said Pony.ai CEO James Peng. “With our autonomous driving technology, we will facilitate business activity and create economic value for the broader region, as well as contribute to a safe and congestion-free transportation environment.”
Currently, Pony.ai vehicles operate daily across the globe, from Fremont and Irvine, California, to Beijing and Guangzhou in China. In 2018, Pony.ai became the first company to roll out daily robotaxi operations in China; last year, Pony.ai also became the first company to launch a public robotaxi service in California.
The City and Pony.ai’s pilot program team will monitor performance, user feedback, and unknowns for the duration of the pilot program to evaluate results and explore options for program expansion. For more information on Pony.ai, visit their website. To read the full Fremont Mobility Action Plan, visit our webpage.