Saudi Arabia’s megaproject NEOM has announced a massive investment of $100 million via the NEOM Investment Fund (NIF) into Pony.ai, a global autonomous driving company.
In addition to this investment, the two entities will establish a joint venture dedicated to autonomous technology solutions within the region.
Under the new deal, NEOM and Pony.ai will collaborate to develop, manufacture, and deliver autonomous driving services, cutting-edge vehicles, and smart vehicle infrastructure across NEOM and key markets in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
“This investment aligns with the ambitious plans announced by NEOM to achieve autonomous transportation solutions for the region. Pony.ai’s autonomous driving technology is already available today, and we are excited to be able to utilise it in NEOM in the near future,” Majid Mufti, CEO of NIF, said.
The collaborative efforts of this extensive joint venture will include a local state-of-the-art autonomous vehicle manufacturing and research and development facility.
NEOM has strategically positioned itself as an ideal location for the development of Pony.ai’s autonomous vehicle technology within the region.
NEOM’s distinct regional development project provides a global living laboratory for advancing autonomous mobility as an integral component of its multi-modal sustainable transport system, all powered by 100 percent renewable energy.
With the advantage of being constructed from the ground up without the constraints of pre-existing infrastructure, NEOM offers an ideal environment for the refinement and implementation of state-of-the-art autonomous mobility solutions on land, sea, and air.
This initiative builds upon NEOM’s previous investments in electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) and electric seaglider technologies.
Pony.ai holds the distinction of being the first to operate fully driverless vehicles in both Beijing and Guangzhou, and it stands among the pioneers in China to secure licences for fully driverless vehicles in all four Tier-1 cities in China, including Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Shenzhen.