Nuro is now the first company in California to be licensed to operate autonomous cars commercially (via TechCrunch). The company received a permit that allowed it to test its robots earlier in the year, but this permit allows the company to actually charge people for the service.
According to a Medium post from Nuro’s legal and political chief, the company plans to “advertise [its] first deployment in California with an established partner. “Who this partner is remains to be seen, but it’s probably a delivery service that can make use of Nuro’s completely driverless Prius vehicles, even though the company plans (literally) to roll out its own custom R2 bots later.
The permit, issued by the California DMV, only allows the company to operate its delivery service in parts of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, which would mean that most of Silicon Valley and its technical workers would be within its domain, but not San Francisco or Oakland.
There are also some additional restrictions – vehicles are only allowed on surface streets with a speed limit of 35 miles per hour (and robots are only allowed to go 25 km / h), so do not expect to see a driverless Prius zippers along the highway to make a delivery when anytime soon. The vehicles are also only allowed to drive in “reasonable weather conditions.”
The company was founded by two former Google engineers and was ironically the only company besides Google’s Waymo that got a California license that allowed it to test driverless cars. Now it has struck the other company in shock in getting the ability to create a business out of it in the state. However, it’s another story in Arizona where Waymo runs a paid driving service with his driverless cars.