Pony.ai, an autonomous car startup based in the US, has reportedly announced that it will recall three automobiles following an accident in California last October, according to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA).
According to sources, NHTSA stated that this was the first recall issued of an automated driving system.
In a statement, Steven Cliff, NHTSA Deputy Administrator stated that whether the vehicle is handled by an automated driving system or a human driver, the responsibility to safeguard road users stays the same. As highlighted by this first recall of an automated driving system, NHTSA will ensure that vehicle developers and manufacturers prioritize safety when introducing new technology.
Pony.ai, the Toyota-backed autonomous vehicle company had been testing its trial fleet of ten Hyundai Kona EVs in California for a few months, sans a human safety inspector when one of its cars crashed with a lane barrier and a traffic sign in Fremont.
Although no other vehicles were involved in the crash, and nobody got hurt, the event prompted the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to terminate Pony's autonomous testing authorization, which led to 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 firm, the software fault in the car that had the accident was also discovered in two additional Pony.ai vehicles, all of which have been rectified. Pony also stated that its software program has been upgraded.
Pony's autonomous license will be kept on hold until the DMV confirms that the startup has taken the necessary steps to remedy the issue that led to the suspension. Pony's California driver testing permit remains unaffected.
Pony.ai announced earlier this week that its valuation rose to $8.5 billion following the closing of its Series D fundraising round.
While the company did not receive the best of results in the United States because of its trucking sector almost disintegrating as well as many key executive-level employees leaving to create rival businesses, it is however steadily expanding its trucking and robotaxi operations in China.