The era of driverless vehicles delivering food, beverages, medicine, and other products has officially and legally begun. Nuro, a little-known company, has secured the first-ever approval from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to launch driverless services in the state.
Beating Amazon, Google, and even GM, Nuro, an autonomous delivery startup, has received legal clearance to offer deliveries that are made through fully-autonomous vehicles. The startup will start small, using commercially-available cars fitted with driverless technology. However, the company promises it will deploy custom-designed and optimized all-electric vehicles.
California DMV approves Nuro for delivery vehicles with autonomous driving technology:
Nuro has become the first-ever company to secure approval from a state body to begin operations of fully autonomous, driverless delivery trucks. The achievement makes it the first company to receive approval of this kind, ahead of companies like GM and Amazon.
It is important to note that these big tech and automotive giants have only asked and received testing approvals in the same field. These companies haven’t started any full-fledged trials either. On the other hand, Nuro will start services.
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Nuro indicated it has a fleet of Toyota Prius vehicles in fully autonomous mode. Simply put, the vehicles have been fitted with autonomous driving and navigation systems. Toyota is yet to offer a completely self-driven Prius to end customers or enterprises.
Although the company will rely on retrofitted Toyota Prius vehicles, Nuro has confirmed it has plans to deploy its custom-built electric R2 vehicles. R2 is quite possibly the codename of the vehicle Nuro is developing.
What will Nuro start delivering and where:
The Nuro R2 all-electric vehicle will eventually start autonomous routine deliveries of food, beverages, medicine, and other products in California. Nuro has chosen Santa Clara and San Mateo counties to initiate its services.
— Plat4om (@Plat4omLive) December 24, 2020
These regions are near to Nuro’s headquarters in the Bay Area. The company has an as-yet-unknown partner. Speaking about the endeavor, the company explained in a blogpost,
“We have extensively tested our self-driving technology and built a track record of safe operations over the past four years, including two successful commercial deployments in other states and driverless testing with R2 in the Bay Area communities where we plan to deploy.”
Nuro R2 all-electric fully autonomous delivery truck explained:
Nuro stressed that safety is the foremost concern for its vehicles. It mentioned that the “R2 was purposefully engineered for safety, with a design that prioritizes what’s outside — the people with whom we share the roads — over what’s inside.”
This essentially means the company steered the design philosophy and engineering towards safety and valued these aspects more than optimizing or boosting internal cargo-carrying capacity. The company added that the R2 all-electric fully-autonomous delivery truck will function only during good weather conditions. Moreover, the R2 vehicle will not be able to exceed 25 MPH or about 40 km/h during its delivery runs.