Pony.ai loses driverless testing permit in California following single-vehicle crash

Chinese robotaxi start-up Pony.ai has lost their driverless test permit in California just six month after receiving it.

It appears the reason it no longer holds the permit is because of a recent crash involving one of their driverless cars just a few hundred feet away from Tesla’s Fremont factory.

In May the company was issued a permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the agency that regulates autonomous vehicle testing in California, giving them permission to operate fully driverless vehicles in the state.

It is not easy to obtain this permit, with just seven other companies holding one at the time.

As of November 19, that number is back down by one, as Pony.ai has been removed from the “Permit Holders (Driverless Testing)” listing on the DMV website.

In reviewing the DMV website, it appears the reason Pony.ai no longer appears on the list is because of a crash involving one of their vehicles.

According to a ‘Report of traffic Collision Involving an Autonomous Vehicle’, the incident took place at 10:50am on October 28, 2021.

The report describes that while turning left at an intersection, the car sustained moderate damage after driving over the median and into a road sign.

“On October 28, 2021, after turning right onto Fremont Blvd from Cushing Pkwy, the Pony.ai Autonomous Vehicle (“Pony.ai AV”) performed a left lane change maneuver in autonomous mode. While performing the lane change, the Pony.ai AV came into contact with a center divider on Fremont Blvd. and the traffic sign that was posted on the divider. The Pony.ai AV suffered moderate damage to the front of the vehicle and the undercarriage. There were no injuries and no other vehicles involved.”

Here’s where we believe the crash took place based on the description above and after reviewing Google Maps.

While the company has lost its driverless permit in California, it still holds its permit to operate with a safety driver.

It is unknown at this time if or when Pony.ai will reapply for the permit.

You can read the full accident report below.

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