U.S. agency to review if Pony.ai complied with crash reporting order

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WASHINGTON, March 29 (Reuters) - The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on Tuesday said it will review whether startup technology firm Pony.ai complied with government reporting requirements for driverless crashes.

Pony.ai earlier this month agreed to issue a recall for some versions of its autonomous driving system software after an October crash in California. The recall, which the NHTSA said was the "first recall of an automated driving system," covered three vehicles.

The NHTSA said it will review whether Toyota-backed Pony.ai complied with reporting requirements "with respect to both the timeliness and accuracy of its reports."

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On Oct. 28, a Pony.ai vehicle that had been operating in autonomous mode hit a street sign on a median in Fremont, California, after turning right, prompting California in December to suspend the company's driverless testing permit. No one was injured in the incident.

Pony.ai on Tuesday said it reported the incident to the NHTSA in "a good faith effort to comply with the relevant requirements" and added that it "has been fully cooperating with NHTSA throughout the process."

Pony.ai said earlier that the crash occurred less than 2.5 seconds after the automated driving system shut down. It said in very rare circumstances, a planning system diagnostic check "could generate a 'false positive' indication of a geolocation mismatch."

The NHTSA told Pony.ai earlier it believed the software had a safety defect and requested that the company conduct a recall.

The company said it has updated the software code and the three affected vehicles have been repaired.

Earlier this month, Pony.ai announced that it had completed a new round of financing that gives it a valuation of $8.5 billion.

California last year said Pony.ai had 10 Hyundai Motor (005380.KS) Kona electric vehicles registered under its driverless testing permit.

The suspension does not impact Pony.ai's permit for testing with a safety driver.

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Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Mark Porter

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