Neom, a future city and development project in Saudi Arabia, has awarded $100 million to the Chinese firm Pony.ai, which specializes in driverless vehicles. Under the terms of the agreement, the two will launch a joint venture to design, produce, and implement smart infrastructure and driverless cars in Neom and other important Middle East and North Africa regions.
The agreement with Pony.ai was made when Saudi Arabia and Chinese businesses collaborated more, especially in science and technology.
The collaboration occurred one day after Neom declared its intention to form a $10 billion joint venture with Danish freight forwarder DSV.
Nine million people will eventually live in the $500 billion Neom project, which is under the direction of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The development aims to diversify the economy from the oil industry as part of the prince’s Vision 2030 reform agenda.
Majid Mufti, CEO of the Neom Investment Fund, stated, “This investment aligns with the ambitious plans announced by NEOM to achieve autonomous transportation solutions for the region.” “We are thrilled to be able to use Pony.ai’s autonomous driving technology in NEOM soon. It is already available today.”
According to the firms, part of their agreement is creating a regional R&D and production center by Neom and Pony.ai.
Pony.ai is licensed to run driverless cars in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Beijing, and Guangzhou. At the moment, Pony.ai operates fully autonomous vehicles in these cities.