Chinese startup Pony.ai gets approval to test driverless vehicles in California
Pony.ai, a Chinese autonomous vehicle startup, has received a permit from California’s Department of Motor Vehicles that will allow it to test its driverless cars without human safety drivers. The company will be able to complete testing on specified streets in three cities across the state. The company has been authorized to test autonomous vehicles with safety drivers since 2017, but the new permit will allow it to take the testing one step further, deploying autonomous vehicles to streets in Fremont, Milpitas, and Irvine. The DMV states that the vehicles are able to be driven on roads with speed limits of no more than 45 miles per hour in clear weather and light precipitation.
There are currently 55 companies that boast active permits to test driverless vehicles in California with human safety drivers, however, Pony.ai has recently become the eighth company to receive a driverless testing permit, joining the liked of US companies Cruise, Nuro, Waymo, and Zoox and Chinese companies Baidu, WeRide, and AutoX. So far, Nuro is the only company that is allowed to operate its autonomous vehicles commercially. Pony.ai is based in Guangzhou and Silicon Valley and claims to be the first company to launch autonomous ride-hailing services to the general public in China. The company hopes to have robotaxis ready for customers in 2023.