Nuro has become the first company to receive a permit to deploy autonomous vehicles on public streets from the California Department of Motor Vehicles. This permit will allow the vehicles to operate commercially on California roads in two counties near their headquarters in the Bay Area. The service will start with a fleet of Prius vehicles in fully autonomous mode, followed by the custom-designed electric R2 vehicles.
Earlier this year, the Nuro R2 was the first autonomous vehicle in the United States to be exempt from legal regulations, and was allowed to hit the road for a limited test period. The Department of Transportation (DOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have paved the way for more extensive test drives on public roads with this delivery robot.
The Nuro R 2 is a delivery robot designed to deliver groceries locally between stores and their customers, including hot meals. According to the makers, the vehicle is specially designed to protect other road users, with an adapted bumper, low speed, low weight and careful handling.
Exemption from the statutory rules for vehicles means, among other things, that the Nuro R2 can go on the road without a windscreen and without side mirrors. In a press release, Minister of Transport Elaine Chao said: “Because it is a self-driving vehicle with a low speed, certain traditionally mandatory functions such as mirrors and windscreen are no longer useful.”