On Tuesday local time, the California Department of Motor Vehicles revoked the automated driving test license of Pony.ai for scenarious involving a safety officer in the driver’s seat. This was reportedly because the DMV had not monitored the driving record of safety officers with its testing permit, TechCrunch reported on Wednesday.
“While reviewing Pony.ai’s application to renew the testing permit, the DMV found numerous violations on the driving records of active Pony.ai safety drivers,” a spokesperson for the DMV said in the report, noting that Pony had 41 autonomous test vehicles and 71 safety drivers with its license.
In response to the news, Pony.ai told Chinese media that it had received a notice from the DMV, saying it would revoke its test permit in California because of the driving records of three specific safety officers. Pony.ai said it was learning more about the issue, and that it is carrying out its testing in China normally.
At the end of October last year, Pony.ai had a collision accident in Fremont, California. After the accident, Pony.ai immediately suspended the unmanned testing of automated driving in California, made a comprehensive review of the incident, reported to the automated driving management department of the DMV and NHTSA, and cooperated with the inquiries of relevant departments throughout the whole process.
The investigation revealed that a specific software bug was the cause of the collision and that three Pony.ai automated vehicles were affected by the software issue. In March, NHTSA announced that Pony.ai had agreed to recall some versions of its autonomous driving software, which NHTSA deemed a safety flaw. They required a recall involving three Pony.ai test vehicles – the first such recall of any autonomous driving system in the world.
At present, most of Pony.ai’s business is based in China. It has just received a permit to provide driverless ride-hailing services with “no safety officer in the main driver’s seat and safety officer in the co-driver” in the Automobile Policy Pioneer Zone, Beijing. The company also recently scored a taxi license to operate commercial services in the southern metropolis of Guangzhou.