Chinese Startup Gets Permission For Driverless Vehicle Testing In California

Pony AI Driverless Vehicle Tech
Image: Pony.ai

Chinese autonomous vehicle startup, Pony.ai has received a permit from California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to test its driverless cars without human safety drivers behind the wheel on specified streets in three cities.

Pony has been authorized to test autonomous vehicles with safety drivers in California since 2017, but the new permit will let it test six autonomous vehicles without safety drivers on specific streets in Fremont, Alameda County; Milpitas, Santa Clara County; and Irvine, Orange County, The Verge reported on Saturday.

According to the DMV, the vehicles are designed to be driven on roads with speed limits of 45 miles per hour or less, in clear weather and light precipitation.

A total of 55 companies have active permits to test driverless vehicles in California according to the DMV, but Pony is only the eighth company to receive a driverless testing permit, joining fellow Chinese companies AutoX, Baidu, and WeRide, along with US companies Cruise, Nuro, Waymo, and Zoox.

Nuro is the only company so far to receive a deployment permit that allows it to operate its autonomous vehicles in California commercially, the report said.