BEIJING — Toyota-backed self driving company Pony.ai said on Friday it would provide an autonomous delivery service to residents of Irvine, Calif., as demand for online orders surges because of the coronavirus lockdown.
As some 90 percent of U.S. shoppers are under stay-at-home orders, a jump in demand for package and grocery delivery has left e-commerce platforms struggling to cope.
In response, Amazon has said it plans to hire 75,000 more people for jobs ranging from warehouse staff to delivery drivers.
Pony.ai said in a statement it would use autonomous electric vehicles to deliver packages from local e-commerce platform Yamibuy to customers in Irvine, which has a population of more than 200,000.
The autonomous fleet comprises 10 electric Kona compact crossovers made by Hyundai and its deliveries will mark Pony.ai’s first attempt to deliver goods, rather than transport passengers.
As part of efforts to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, self-driving technology…