Pony.ai's driverless vehicle was involved in a minor collision during routine testing in California, and the company subsequently voluntarily halted its unmanned testing in the state.

(Image credit: Pony.ai)

Pony.ai, a Chinese self-driving startup backed by Toyota Motor and , has voluntarily suspended its driverless testing in California after a minor accident.

Pony.ai's name has been removed from the Driverless Testing Permit listing on the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website, Sina Tech reported today.

"Pony.ai has always been committed to the principle of safety first. Previously, a Pony.ai unmanned test vehicle was involved in a minor collision during routine testing in California, with no injuries and no other vehicles involved," the report quoted the company as saying in response.

"Immediately after the accident, Pony.ai investigated the incident and voluntarily stopped its unmanned self-driving tests in California. pony.ai was the first to report the incident with the California DMV and is still in close communication and cooperation," the company said.

(Screenshot of California DMV website.)

At 10:50 am on October 28, Pony.ai's unmanned car, based on Hyundai's electric Kona, was testing in Fremont, Bay Area, when it drove into the median barrier after completing a lane change and struck a very small road sign, causing moderate damage to the front of the car, according to the report.

Immediately after the accident, Pony.ai notified the Fremont Police Department and worked with the local road traffic department to repair the damaged road sign and filed an accident report with the DMV within one business day.

The withdrawal of the unmanned vehicle road test license does not affect Pony.ai's self-driving test license with safety officers, meaning that the company's unmanned vehicles can still continue normal open road testing in California as long as they are equipped with safety officers, the report noted.

Waymo has previously been involved in a similar accident. In June, the company was testing Robotaxi in San Francisco when it once failed to yield to a passerby while making a left turn at an intersection and crushed a passerby's scooter, cutting the surface of the vehicle, but fortunately, no one was injured.

Immediately after the accident, Waymo also suspended its unmanned vehicle operations in San Francisco, but did not fully suspend all operations and testing in California.

The California DMV did not subsequently take relevant measures as well. Waymo later explained that the vehicle was in the process of being taken out of autopilot mode and was in manual drive mode at the time of the accident.

Self-driving firm Pony.ai's car-making plans reportedly stalled