Saturday, August 5, 2023 and investor Toyota partner to ‘mass produce’ robotaxis in China

 From TechCrunch, August 4:

Autonomous-driving company and Toyota say they’re teaming up with the goal of one day cranking out a bunch of “fully driverless robotaxis.”

The two companies intend to kick off their partnership sometime this year with around $139 million in capital from GAC Toyota Motor Co. — a joint venture between Toyota China and GAC, a Chinese state-owned automaker.

The investment follows Toyota’s move to pump about $400 million into Pony back in 2020. Going forward, Toyota says it’ll give Pony an unspecified number of its EVs, while Pony will outfit them with autonomous-driving tech and the firm’s “robotaxi network platform.” 

Without context, $139 million may sound like a lot, but Pony has raised more than a billion dollars since its founding in 2016. Things arguably haven’t gone smoothly throughout the self-driving developer’s lifetime....