NEOM, the futuristic urban development project in Saudi Arabia, recently announced a substantial investment of $100 million through the NEOM Investment Fund (NIF) into Pony.ai, a renowned global autonomous driving company. This collaboration is set to establish a groundbreaking joint venture dedicated to pioneering tailored autonomous technology solutions for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
Majid Mufti, CEO of NIF, highlighted the alignment of this investment with NEOM’s ambitious agenda to realize autonomous transportation solutions within the region. “Pony.ai’s autonomous driving technology is already accessible today, and we are thrilled to integrate it into NEOM’s landscape in the near future,” expressed Mufti.
Terry Wong, NEOM’s Executive Director of Land Mobility, emphasized the significance of the investment in Pony.ai as a pivotal element in the development of a smart, zero-emission, autonomous multi-modal transport system. Wong stated that the investment aims to connect people and communities across NEOM, nurturing novel technologies for the global community’s benefit.
The joint venture will encompass an advanced local autonomous vehicle manufacturing and research facility, leveraging NEOM’s strategic location as an optimal industrial hub for the evolution of Pony.ai’s autonomous vehicle technology within the region.
Dr. James Peng, co-founder, and CEO at Pony.ai, expressed enthusiasm about the collaboration, emphasizing the partnership’s goal to develop, produce, and deliver autonomous mobility services and vehicles to the region. Dr. Peng highlighted the significance of this regional expansion as a critical milestone for Pony.ai’s global aspirations and vision of ‘autonomous mobility everywhere,’ propelling the global AV industry into a new era.
NEOM, designed as a global living laboratory for advancing autonomous mobility, aims to integrate this technology seamlessly within its sustainable, multi-modal transport system, powered entirely by renewable energy. Constructed from scratch, NEOM provides an ideal environment for refining and implementing cutting-edge autonomous mobility solutions on land, sea, and air, building upon its previous investments in eVTOL and electric seaglider technologies.
Pony.ai has made significant strides in the field, operating fully driverless vehicles in Beijing and Guangzhou, and securing licenses for fully driverless vehicles in all four Tier-1 Cities in China, including Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Shenzhen.