According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, Pony.ai, an autonomous car startup, will recall three vehicles following a crash in California in October (NHTSA).
According to Reuters, the agency said on Tuesday that this was the first recall of an automated driving system.
In a statement, NHTSA Deputy Administrator Steven Cliff said, “Whether the vehicle is handled by a human driver or an automated driving system, the imperative to protect roadway users remains the same.” “As this first automated driving system recall demonstrates, NHTSA will guarantee that carmakers and developers put safety first as they introduce new technologies.”
Pony.ai, financed by Toyota, had been testing its pilot fleet of 10 Hyundai Kona EVs in California for several months without a human safety operator when one of its vehicles crashed with a lane barrier and a street sign in Fremont. Although no other vehicles were engaged and no one was hurt, the event prompted the California Department of Motor Vehicles to suspend Pony’s autonomous testing authorization, as well as a formal investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
According to a filing by Pony.ai, the agency informed the firm that it suspected the software had a safety flaw and demanded a recall.
According to the startup, the software fault in the vehicle that crashed was also discovered in two additional Pony.ai vehicles, all of which have been rectified. Pony also stated that its software code has been upgraded.
“This was the first and only time such an incident has occurred in a Pony.ai autonomous car,” a Pony.ai spokesman told TechCrunch, noting that the company has completed over 6 million real-world autonomous driving miles and 305,617 miles traveled autonomously in California in the past year.
Pony’s driverless permit will be stopped until the DMV verifies that the startup has taken the necessary steps to address the deficiency that led to the suspension, according to a DMV representative. Pony’s California drivered testing permit is unaffected.
Pony.ai announced earlier this week that its valuation had risen to $8.5 billion following the closing of its Series D fundraising round. While the company hasn’t had the best of results in the United States, with its trucking sector almost disintegrating and several key executives leaving to create rival businesses, it is steadily expanding its trucking and robotaxi operations in China.
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