Chinese Startup, Pony.ai Gets Permit To Test Driverless Cars In Three California Cities
Chinese robotaxi startup Pony.ai can now test its driverless vehicles in three California cities, according to a report from techcrunch.com. The permission was given to the company which was founded in December 2016 to pilot its autonomous vehicles without a human safety driver behind the wheel in three California cities.
It is far less common to get permission for driverless vehicles in the United States, even though dozens of companies with drivers have been granted permissions.
Some other companies which have been granted similar driverless permits in the state include US companies Nuro, Zoox, Waymo and Cruise.
Also, Chinese companies like Baidu, AutoX and WeRide have gotten similar permits in the past, making Pony the eight.
Only Nuro has been granted a permit to let it operate commercially, though.
The agency behind the regulation of automated vehicle testing, the California Department of Motor Vehicles issued the permit and has expanded on Pony’s existing activities in the state.
They will be able to test six autonomous driverless vehicles within Milpitas, Fremont and Irvine, and within certain constraints. The testing will occur in weekdays between 10 am and 3 pm, and the vehicles are not designed to operate on roads with speed limits exceeding 45 miles per hour.
The companies who receive the permits are also to provide a bond or evidence of insurance equal to $5 million, and follow other rules such as training its remote operators.
They must report to the DMV within 10 days of any collisions involving a test driverless vehicle.
Pony.ai was founded in 2016 by former Baidu developers, James Peng and Lou Tiancheng. It operates in China and the United States, and has landed a number of investors and partnerships in a few months of it’s existence.
The company’s valuation as at November 2020 has reportedly reached $5.3 billion.