California suspends Pony.ai driverless test license after crash

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SAN FRANCISCO – A California regulator announced Monday that it has suspended a driverless test license for startup tech company Pony.ai following a crash – the first time it has issued such a suspension.

On October 28, a Pony.ai vehicle operating in autonomous mode struck a traffic center divider and traffic sign in Fremont after turning right, the tech firm’s accident report filed with the California Department showed. of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

“There were no injuries and no other vehicles involved,” the company, backed by Japanese company Toyota Motor Corp, said in the report.

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Accidents during driverless testing are not uncommon. It is not known what aspect of this incident prompted the suspension.

“On November 19, the DMV informed Pony.ai that the department was suspending its driverless test license, with immediate effect, following a reported solo collision in Fremont, Calif. On October 28,” said the DMV in a press release.

The regulator said Pony.ai had 10 Hyundai Motor Co Kona electric vehicles registered under its driverless test license, and the suspension did not impact Pony.ai’s license for testing with a driver of security.

The suspension comes just six months after Pony.ai became the eighth company to receive a driverless test license in California, joining Alphabet Inc’s Waymo unit as well as Cruise, backed by General Motors Co.

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“We immediately launched an investigation and are in contact with the California DMV regarding the incident,” a spokesperson for Pony.ai said. Safety is the “bedrock” of the company’s autonomous vehicle technology, the spokesperson said.

The company said the majority of its autonomous driving tests involved safety drivers, and that will continue to be the case in the short term.

Pony.ai, which operates in the United States and China, earlier this year suspended its proposed New York stock exchange listing, sources told Reuters.

He halted his plans because he could not get assurances from Chinese authorities that he would not become the target of increased regulatory action against Chinese tech companies regarding the management and use of user data, said. the sources.

A spokesperson for Pony.ai declined to comment on the announcement on Monday. (Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco and Brenda Goh in Beijing; Additional reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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