Self-Driving Cars Will Deliver Online Orders In California
Chinese startup Pony.ai the company, which develops self-driving cars, said on Friday that it is starting to use them to deliver online orders in California.
About 90% of consumers in the United States now observe a regime of self-isolation, as a result of which they have become more likely to buy products online. Because of this, Amazon even decided to hire an additional 175,000 people to work in warehouses and the delivery service.
Other online ordering services are also in high demand, and Pony.ai the company, which had to stop testing its self-driving taxis on the streets of the California city of Irvine in March, also decided to take up delivery. The service will work in partnership with local online retailer Yamibuy only in Irvine, where more than 200,000 people live. For product delivery, Pony.ai re-equipped 10 Hyundai Kona electric cars that used to be used as "robotaxis."
The delivery process will be contactless, the startup claims. When a customer places an order on the Yamibuy website, where you can buy various products from food to cosmetics, a self-driving car will deliver it to the buyer's home. The driver will be able to pick it up from the car, or the operator who is in the car will leave it in front of the door. Per day Pony.ai it will be able to perform from 500 to 700 orders, writes CNBC with reference to a representative of the company.
In December 2019, California authorities allowed testing and commercial use of passenger self-driving cars for the delivery of goods. This service can become an important source of revenue for the company in the future and will allow more efficient use of self-driving cars, combining the transportation of people and goods, said the co-founder Pony.ai James pan in an interview with the Financial Times.
Pony.ai was founded in 2016. During the last round of funding in February, the startup raised $462 million, resulting in a valuation of approximately $3 billion. Its investors include Japanese automaker Toyota.