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California halts Pony.ai’s driverless testing permit after the accident

California halts Pony.ai’s driverless testing permit after the accident

October 15, 2021: ON MONDAY, a California regulator said it had suspended a driverless testing permit for startup technology firm Pony.ai following an accident the first time it has issued such a suspension.

On October 28, a Pony.ai vehicle operating in autonomous mode hit a road center divider. After turning right, a traffic sign in Fremont showed the technology firm’s accident report filed with the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

“There were no injuries and no different vehicles involved,” the company, backed by Japan’s Toyota Motor, said in the report.

Accidents during driverless testing are not so common. It was unclear what aspect of this incident prompted the suspension.

“On November 19, the DMV notified Pony.ai that the department is suspending its driverless testing permit, effective, following a reported solo collision in Fremont, California, on October 28,” the DMV said in a statement.

The regulator said Pony.ai has 10 Hyundai Motor Kona electric vehicles registered under its driverless testing permit and that the suspension does not impact Pony.ai’s permit to test with a safety driver.

The suspension comes only six months following Pony.ai became the eighth company to receive a driverless testing permit in California, joining the like of Alphabet unit Waymo and Cruise, backed by General Motors.

“We are cooperating with the California DMV and look forward to addressing and resolving any concerns they may have,” Pony.ai said in a statement. The firm said that safety is the “foundation” of its autonomous vehicle technology.

“The majority of Pony.ai’s testing has been, and will to be in the near-term, drivers autonomous testing,” said the company, operating in the United States and China.

The firm could not gain assurances from Chinese authorities that it would not become a target of increased regulatory action against Chinese technology companies for the management and use of user data, sources said.

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