California suspends Toyota-backed Pony.ai’s driverless testing license


Pony.ai, a Chinese autonomous driving company backed by Toyota, is no longer able to test fully self-driving vehicles in California for the time being. According to Reuters, the DMV suspended its driverless test permit on Nov. 19, a few weeks after a reported collision in Fremont. Based on the report filed with the state’s DMV, a Pony.ai autonomous driving vehicle hit a mid-road divider and a road sign on Oct. 28.

It was a one-vehicle incident and no injuries or other vehicles were involved. As Reuters said, it’s unclear what aspect of the accident led the DMV to suspend Pony.ai’s license, but the company said it immediately launched an investigation and is working with the agency to find out what caused the crash. the collision was.

While Pony.ai can no longer test fully autonomous vehicles in California, it may continue its trials with safety drivers behind the wheel. The company has registered 10 Hyundai Motor Kona electric vehicles for testing and obtained its driverless test permit for three cities in the state just six months ago. It is the eighth company to receive such a permit in California, after the likes of Waymo, Cruise and Baidu. Under the terms of the permit, Pony.ai was allowed to conduct driverless tests in Fremont, Milpitas and Irvine on open roads and with a speed limit of 45 miles per hour. Furthermore, the vehicles could only operate in clear weather and light precipitation.

Pony.ai recently received approval to operate paid autonomous taxi services in Beijing, which it also hoped to achieve in California by 2022. It remains to be seen whether this suspension will significantly delay those plans.

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