Pony.ai, a leading global autonomous driving technology company, today announces its plan to begin testing its autonomous vehicles in Tucson, Arizona, with trained safety drivers behind the wheel of the vehicles. Pony.ai is partnering with Pima Community College and will base its operations at the new Automotive Technology & Innovation Center, located at its Downtown campus. The new Pony.ai operation is the first and only location in Arizona for the company.

“We are excited to welcome Pony.ai to Tucson as the next site of their autonomous vehicle pilot,” said Tucson Mayor Regina Romero. “Our city is known as a hub for innovation and smart technologies, and now we have a unique opportunity to partner with Pony.ai to test new technologies that can help us create safer streets,” said Romero.

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“Tucson is quickly becoming a leading city for tech startups and smart city technology, and Pony.ai is excited to expand our operations there. We want to thank Mayor Romero, the City of Tucson, Sun Corridor, ADOT, and others who made our expansion to Tucson so seamless,” said James Peng, Pony.ai’s co-founder and CEO. 

“Pony.ai is the first company in Southern Arizona to launch passenger AV testing. Pima County’s highly skilled automotive workforce, as well as expertise built with TuSimple and others, will greatly benefit Pony.ai in this launch and future expansions,” said Sharon Bronson, chair, Pima County Board of Supervisors. “We’re also excited to see that Pony.ai’s technology vision will include enhanced mobility for underserved populations by providing more reliable transportation for persons with disabilities. I wish them all the success as they establish testing operations in Pima County.” 

“Pony.ai’s decision to select Tucson for their new autonomous passenger vehicle testing operations is further validation that Southern Arizona is an emerging player in the autonomous vehicle industry,” said Joe Snell, president & CEO, Sun Corridor Inc. “Pony.ai joins a growing list of companies developing autonomous technologies that have established or expanded operations in the region over the last few years.”

“We are thrilled with the opportunity to become the home of Pony.ai’s operations in the region,” said Lee Lambert, chancellor, Pima Community College. “It aligns perfectly with our vision of the PCC Automotive Technology & Innovation Center to be on the cutting edge of the new automotive technology. Our students will be excited to be at the center of the autonomous vehicle technology action. Welcome, Pony.ai.”

“Arizona is the premier destination for autonomous vehicle innovation,” said Sandra Watson, president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “Pony.ai’s Tucson operations are a valued addition to Arizona’s growing AV ecosystem, which is supported through one-of-a-kind collaborations like the Institute of Automated Mobility.”

To date, Pony.ai vehicles have driven more than 9.3 million autonomous testing and operation miles worldwide. Pony.ai ranked #10 on the 2022 CNBC Disruptor List of 50 of the most disruptive and innovative private companies.