Driverless startup Pony.ai this afternoon announced that it’s collaborating with Yamibuy, an e-commerce platform based in Los Angeles, to launch an autonomous delivery service for customers in Irvine, California. Beginning today through mid-summer, Pony.ai will use its autonomous fleet of retrofitted Toyota Priuses to deliver packages and groceries from Yamibuy to its customers’ doorsteps.

Commercially, the partnership marks a milestone for Pony.ai: It’s the first time the Fremont-based firm has deployed its vehicles for goods delivery, following in the footsteps of rival Nuro, which obtained a DMV permit to test driverless delivery vehicles in the San Francisco Bay Area. It could provide additional capacity to address the surge in online orders resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as reduce the risk of infection in

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