Launching Autonomous Vehicles Nuro has been given the green light to start charging a fee and receiving compensation for a driverless delivery service in California after regulatory approval Wednesday from the state Department of Motor Vehicles.
The move comes after the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved two new programs in November that allow autonomous vehicle operators to launch their own robotic tax in the state.
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California’s first ever autonomous vehicle installation permit allows Nuro to operate with new and existing retail partners in designated areas of the Santa Clara and San Mateo counties of the Bay Area, including the cities of Atherton, East Palo Alto, Los Altos Hills, Los Altos, Menlo Park, Mountain View , Palo Alto, Sunnyvale and Woodside.
“Soon we will announce our first deployment in California with an established partner,” Nuro’s legal and political chief David Estrada said in a blog post. “The service starts with our fleet of [Toyota] Prius vehicles in fully autonomous mode, followed by our specially designed R2 electric vehicles. “
Nuros R2 vehicles designed exclusively for transporting packages have a maximum speed of 25 miles per hour and are only approved to operate in fair weather conditions on streets with a speed limit of no more than 35 km / h. The vehicles have previously been used to provide contactless deliveries to coronavirus patients and staff at medical facilities in San Mateo and Sacramento and to autonomous grocery delivery to local food banks.
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The announcement comes in the middle of a milestone year for Nuro, who individually said on Wednesday that it would acquire self-propelled truck startup Ike Robotics.
Nuro became the first company to receive an exemption for self-driving vehicles from the Department of Transportation in February. The company received a driverless test permit from California in April after operating on public roads in the state with a safety driver since 2017. In October, the company announced that its R2 vehicles could drive without drivers, passengers or chase cars in California, Texas and Arizona.
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“The issuance of the first roll-out permit is a major milestone in the development of autonomous vehicles in California,” said DMV Director Steve Gordon. “We will continue to keep the safety of car drivers in mind as this technology evolves.”
In addition to meeting federal motor vehicle safety standards or having an exemption from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, applicants for autonomous vehicle distribution will be required to demonstrate how their vehicles are able to avoid hazards and establish a plan for how the vehicles interact with police and other emergency personnel.