Pony.ai has reportedly lost its permit assigned by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to test its autonomous vehicles with a driver.
Sources close to the matter have mentioned that the DMV identified several violations while reviewing the company’s permit renewal application. It is worth noting that Pony.ai had close to 71 safety drivers and 41 autonomous test vehicles on its permit.
The DMV revoked the permit owing to the crucial role of safety drivers to ease the safe testing of the technology and the necessity for these drivers to have a clean record as per the autonomous vehicle regulations of the DMV.
The announcement comes along the heels of the suspension of Pony.ai’s driverless permit, which enables it to test its autonomous vehicle technology with no human safety operator in the front seat, after a reported crash in Fremont, California.
At the time, the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration) suspected a software default. Therefore, in March, the company recalled 3 vehicles with similar issues.
Although the DMV did not reveal further details regarding the status of the company’s revoked driverless permit, if that permit’s safer version-the one with the driver’s presence- has been completely revoked, it is unlikely that the DMV will reinstate Pony’s driverless permit anytime soon.
The DMV commented that the department revokes or suspends permits when there is a high risk to public safety. Currently, Pony does not have any active permits in California.
In the meantime, the California-based company just received a permit to offer driverless ride-hailing services on the open roads of Beijing in China, its primary operation site. Recently, Pony.ai also obtained a taxi license to run a commercial service in Guangzhou.
In other news, Pony.ai has recently completed its Series D funding round. The proceeds from this round will be used to expand the company’s investment in R&D, hiring, and expedite its development towards mass commercial deployment.