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Pony.ai’s permit to test driverless vehicles in California is suspended after crash
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Pony.ai’s permit to test driverless vehicles in California is suspended after crash

Pony.ai, an autonomous automobile startup based mostly in Silicon Valley and Guangzhou, China, is briefly unable to test driverless vehicles in California after a automobile crash led the state’s Division of Motor Vehicles to droop the corporate’s testing permit.

Pony.ai was one of many few firms approved to test fully autonomous vehicles with out security drivers behind the steering wheel on public roads in California. The DMV has solely issued permits to seven different firms, together with main operators like Waymo and Cruise.

However the permit was suspended — and Pony’s identify faraway from the DMV’s list of permit holders — after a reported automobile collision in Fremont, California on October twenty eighth, the company mentioned in an announcement. Pony has 10 Hyundai Kona vehicles registered below its driverless testing permit. The corporate is nonetheless approved to test vehicles with a security driver behind the steering wheel.

The permit was suspended after the corporate reported a crash to the DMV. (All AV permit holders are required to file reviews after a collision.) In accordance to the report, Pony’s automobile was in autonomous mode, turning proper onto Fremont Boulevard from Cushing Parkway when it “got here into contact” with a middle divider containing a site visitors signal.

“The Pony.ai AV suffered average injury to the entrance of the automobile and the undercarriage,” the report states. “There have been no accidents and no different vehicles concerned.”

Fremont Police have been referred to as to the scene. Pony mentioned that it later reached out to native authorities to “resolve all points” associated to the broken road signal.

“The security of the motoring public stays the California DMV’s high precedence, and the division’s autonomous automobile rules present a framework to facilitate the secure testing and deployment of this expertise on California public roads,” the DMV mentioned in an announcement. “When there is an unreasonable danger to public security, the DMV can instantly droop or revoke permits.”

This represents a hurdle to Pony’s industrial plans in the state. Shortly after receiving its driverless testing permit in Might, Pony.ai founder and CEO James Peng advised The Verge that the corporate was in search of approval to embrace these vehicles in its robotaxi service in California. “We are literally on the remaining stage of getting the approval for vacationers,” he mentioned.

Pony.ai was valued at $3 billion after a $400 million investment from Toyota final yr. The corporate has been testing autonomous vehicles in Beijing and Guangzhou since late 2018 in addition to in Fremont and Irvine, California.

In an announcement, a spokesperson for Pony famous that the corporate’s autonomous vehicles have pushed over 750,000 miles in California since 2017. Pony is additionally conducting its personal investigation into the October collision.

“We’re proud to have one of many business’s finest security data,” the spokesperson mentioned. “We glance ahead to a secure decision to this incident.”

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