The driverless vehicles will be tested on public roads in Fremont, Milpitas and Irvine.
With the permit, Pony.ai will be allowed to test six autonomous vehicles on specified streets in those places, following the company’s state authority to test autonomous vehicles since 2017.
The vehicles have been designed for roads with posted speed limits under 45 miles per hour and in clear weather or light precipitation. The testing will begin in Fremont and Milpitas between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
With this news Pony.ai will become the eighth company to get a pass for driverless autonomous vehicles in California. There are 55 companies that have permits for autonomous vehicles with a safety driver inside.
Manufacturers seeking permits for driverless vehicles have to fulfill a set of criteria, including evidence of insurance or a bond for up to $5 million, verifying that the vehicles are able to operate without a driver, meet federal standards, or have an exemption from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In addition, the vehicles have to be confirmed to be tested under controlled conditions matching the planned areas they’ll be driving in, and all local governments need to be notified.
And the press release says there needs to be a law enforcement interaction plan providing information on how the police can interact with the autonomous vehicles. The status of the vehicles needs to be monitored, and the release says remote operators need to be trained.
The company was founded in 2015 in Fremont and is run by computer scientists from Google and other tech giants.
In its marketing material, Pony.ai says it’s the only autonomous car company to have won approval to run self-driving taxis in both California and China.