NEOM invests $100 million in autonomous driving company Pony.ai
NEOM, October 25, 2023, NEOM, the innovative sustainable development project in northwestern Saudi Arabia, has unveiled a substantial $100 million investment, facilitated through the NEOM Investment Fund (NIF), in the globally renowned autonomous driving company, Pony.ai. This significant collaboration paves the way for a joint venture that will focus on the development and implementation of autonomous technology solutions tailored to the region.
The partnership between NEOM and Pony.ai will see the co-creation, production, and deployment of autonomous driving services, cutting-edge vehicles, and intelligent vehicle infrastructure within NEOM itself, as well as key markets in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
Majid Mufti, CEO of NIF, noted that this investment perfectly aligns with NEOM's forward-looking plans to introduce autonomous transportation solutions to the region. The advanced autonomous driving technology offered by Pony.ai is poised to play a pivotal role in NEOM's forthcoming transportation landscape.
Terry Wong, the Executive Director of NEOM Land Mobility, emphasized the significance of this investment in realizing NEOM's vision for a smart, eco-friendly, autonomous multi-modal transportation system. This transformative project aims to interconnect individuals and communities throughout NEOM, fostering the incubation of pioneering technologies with global implications.
The joint venture promises more than just financial backing. It will establish a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to the manufacturing and research of autonomous vehicles, firmly positioning NEOM as an ideal strategic hub for the development and expansion of Pony.ai's autonomous vehicle technology within the region.
Dr. James Peng, co-founder and CEO of Pony.ai, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership with NEOM. He highlighted the convergence of Pony.ai's advanced autonomous driving capabilities and operational expertise with NEOM's visionary goals to revolutionize the regional transportation landscape, offering smart, autonomous mobility solutions and vehicles.
NEOM's unique status as a ground-up development project, unconstrained by existing infrastructure, provides an ideal platform for pioneering autonomous mobility solutions across land, sea, and air. Additionally, NEOM's commitment to utilizing 100% renewable energy further underscores its dedication to sustainable, cutting-edge transportation solutions.
Pony.ai has gained recognition as a pioneer in autonomous driving technology, notably being one of the first companies to operate fully driverless vehicles in major Chinese cities. This strategic partnership signifies a significant expansion for Pony.ai and aligns with their vision of "autonomous mobility everywhere," propelling the global autonomous vehicle industry into a new era.
With this substantial investment and collaboration, NEOM takes yet another step toward becoming a global leader in sustainable and autonomous transportation, building upon its prior investments in electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) and electric seaglider technologies.