The United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said on Tuesday that it will review whether autonomous driving startup Pony.ai has complied with the government’s reporting requirements for unmanned vehicle traffic accidents, including the timeliness and accuracy of such reports, according to Reuters.
On October 22, 2021, in Fremont, California, an unmanned test vehicle operated by Pony.ai crashed into a road in the middle lane after turning right. The front of the test vehicle was slightly damaged, although the incident caused no casualties. State regulators then suspended the company’s driverless test permit in December.
Pony.ai claimed that the vehicle collided less than 2.5 seconds after the autonomous driving system was closed. In very rare cases, vehicle system diagnostic checks “may produce ‘false positive’ indications of a geographical mismatch,” the company said.
The NHTSA believed that some versions of Pony.ai’s autonomous driving system software have safety defects, and asked the company to recall them. On March 8 this year, Pony.ai agreed to recall some versions of the software, involving its three test cars.
Pony.ai’s autonomous driving test team in California consists of 10 Hyundai new energy vehicles equipped with its autonomous driving system, which had finished completely unmanned driving tests for several months without operators and safety officers.
Pony.ai previously claimed that it has completed more than 6 million miles in road tests for autonomous driving vehicles, and has completed 305,617 miles of road tests for autonomous driving in California last year. According to the firm, the collision in October was “the first and only such incident” in the road testing of Pony.ai unmanned driving cars.
In addition, on March 7 this year, Pony.ai announced the initial close of round-D financing with an overall valuation of $8.5 billion, representing an increase of about 65% compared with the previous round of financing.