Toyota-backed Pony.ai's driverless testing permit suspended post accident
Toyota-backed startup technology firm Pony.ai's permit for driverless testing has been suspended by a California regulator. The first such suspension took place after Pony.ai's vehicle operating in autonomous mode met with an accident on October 28.
The autonomous vehicle hit a road center divider and a traffic sign in Fremont after turning right, as per an accident report filed by the firm with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
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"There were no injuries and no other vehicles involved (in the mishap)," the report stated.
While accidents during driverless testing of vehicles is common, it is not clear what aspect of the incident with Pony.ai led to the suspension of the testing permit. The DMV, on November 19, had notified Pony.ai that the department is suspending its driverless testing permit with immediate effect post a solo collision in Fremont, California.
This was followed by the California regulator's recent statement about the suspension of the autonomous testing permit. However, the suspension does not impact Pony.ai's permit for testing with a safety driver. The tech firm has 10 Hyundai Kona electric vehicles registered under its driverless testing permit. "We immediately launched an investigation, and are in contact with the California DMV about the incident," a Pony.ai spokesman said, Reuters reported.
Pony.ai, which has majorly conducted its autonomous driving testing with safety drivers, will continue to test in the similar manner in near-term. Its autonomous testing permit suspension comes six months after the firm became the eighth company to be granted a driverless testing permit in California, with the likes of Alphabet Inc unit Waymo General Motor's Cruise.
The tech firm which operates in the United States and China, earlier this year suspended its plans for a New York stock listing, as per sources, Reuters reported. This is because the company could not gain assurances from Chinese authorities that it would not become a target of increased regulatory action against Chinese technology companies.