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China's Pony.ai and Baidu pile up self-driving miles in California

Gap with American rivals narrows in road tests, with R&D focus in both countries

Baidu leads the Apollo open-source platform, with Ford among its partners. (Photo courtesy of the two companies)

PALO ALTO, U.S. -- Chinese developers of self-driving technologies have gained ground on top American rivals in California road tests as Pony.ai and Baidu log sharp increases in distances driven for 2019.

Pony.ai racked up roughly 281,000 km driven on public roads for the 12 months through November 2019, an 11-fold increase as the startup surged to third place from ninth in 2018, a Nikkei ranking based on California data shows.

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