Nuro has received the first permit ever granted by the State of California to test a self-driving vehicle on public roads that is not only driverless, but also passengerless.
It is only the second driverless testing permit California has granted to any company. This permit now allows Nuro to begin testing the recently unveiled R2 vehicle, in service with its partners, starting in the Silicon Valley region.
Nuro will bring its neighbourhood-friendly R2 vehicle into the communities, in close cooperation with the DMV, local leaders, and law enforcement. Community education and engagement is a critical part of the DMV’s permitting process, and over the next few weeks and months, the company is planning various remote community engagement activities with Mountain View law enforcement and first responders, to ensure that community leaders are fully trained on how to interact with these vehicles on public roads, particularly in cases of emergency.
The driverless R2 vehicles can begin testing in the counties that make up Silicon Valley, namely Santa Clara and San Mateo, and the company will continue to expand testing in other parts of the Bay Area soon. The permit allows Nuro to begin conducting deliveries with its local retail partners.
The COVID-19 pandemic has expedited the public need for contactless delivery services. Nuro’s R2 fleet is custom-designed to change the very nature of driving, and the movement of goods, by allowing people to remain safely at home while their groceries, medicines, and packages, are brought to them.
Nuro plans to begin service by making free deliveries to select customers in Mountain View and the surrounding area. This will allow it to launch a formal delivery service in partnership with local brands and retailers. The next step in the California regulatory process will be to apply for a full statewide commercial deployment permit to bring its services to California residents throughout the state.
Given current shelter-in-place orders, the company’s top priority is keeping its own workforce safe. It will be actively engaging in logistical planning for the day public roads testing can begin.
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