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Pony.ai's permit to test autonomous vehicles revoked in California

Pony.ai's permit to test autonomous vehicles revoked in California
Pony.ai, one of its autonomous vehicles is pictured, has had its license to test autonomous vehicles with safety drivers in California revoked because of concerns linked to the drivers' histories behind the wheel. Photo courtesy of Pony.ai/Twitter

May 26 (UPI) -- Pony.ai has lost its permit to test its autonomous vehicles with a safety driver in California.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles revoked the AV startup's testing permit after finding it failed to monitor the driving records of the safety drivers, TechCrunch first reported.

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"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 told TechCrunch.

The DMV spokesperson added that having up to date information on safety drivers was critical.

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"Because of the critical role of safety drivers to facilitate the safe testing of autonomous technology and the need for these drivers to have a clean driving record as established by the DMV's autonomous vehicle regulations, the DMV is revoking the permit, effective immediately," the spokesperson said.

The DMV took issue with three of the safety drivers, the company confirmed to TechCrunch.

"Pony.ai approaches the development of autonomous vehicle technology with safety as our foundation, we are proud of our safety record," a Pony.ai spokesperson added in an email to The Verge.

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The spokesperson told both TechCrunch and The Verge that it was proud that in its record of over 6.8 million real-world autonomous miles, no injuries have occurred.

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Last year, the AV company, which is co-located in Silicon Valley, Calif., and Beijing and Guangzhou, China, lost its permit to test AVs without a safety driver after a collision in Fremont, Calif.

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration suspected a software default, and the AV company recalled three vehicles with similar potential software issues in March.

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Still, Pony.ai recently received a permit for a driverless robotaxi service in Beijing. It also recently received a taxi license in Guangzhou.

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