LOS ANGELES (Xinhua): 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 the state's three cities.
According to a statement released by DMV, the permit issued to Pony.ai on Friday authorised the company to test driverless vehicles on public roads in Fremont, Milpitas and Irvine.
"While Pony.ai has had state authority to test autonomous vehicles with safety drivers since 2017, the new permit allows the company to test six autonomous vehicles without a driver behind the wheel on specified streets," the statement read, noting the testing vehicles were permitted to operate on roads with speed limits not exceeding 72.4 km per hour in clear weather and light precipitation.
A total of 55 companies had active permits to test driverless vehicles in California, the DMV said, but Pony is 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.
Pony.ai, which is based in Guangzhou and Silicon Valley, claims it is the first company to launch autonomous ride-hailing and provide self-driving car rides to the general public in China.