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The fresh cash also lifts Pony’s valuation to the over-$3 billion mark. The company now has $726 million in total funding, according to Crunchbase.
Pony.ai was founded in December 2018 and started testing its robotaxi service (PonyPilot) in late 2018 in China, according to a company statement. It also introduced a robotaxi pilot service in California in November 2019.
This isn’t Toyota’s first rodeo with Pony.ai. The auto giant partnered with the startup in August 2019 for autonomous driving pilots in China.
The new investment will “expand the partnership’s scope of collaboration,” Pony said in the statement. “In addition to co-developing autonomous driving technology, Pony.ai and Toyota will look beyond the vehicle itself to explore further possibilities on mobility services.”
Toyota’s investment makes sense, as large automakers have been doubling down on investments in car technology startups. As Crunchbase News previously reported, since the beginning of 2019, automakers have led funding rounds valued at more than $6 billion.
Toyota ranked as the second-most active automaker investor by round count, according to Crunchbase data current as of January 2020. Toyota has also led funding rounds for startups Didi Chuxing and Joby Aviation.
Illustration Credit: Li-Anne Dias