Nuro Now Operates Autonomous Delivery Services In California

Nuro Now Operates Autonomous Delivery Services In California

https://techcrunch.com/2020/12/23/nuro-can-now-operate-and-charge-for-autonomous-delivery-services-in-california/

Autonomous delivery startup Nuro is allowed to launch commercial driverless services on public roads in California — the first company to clear this hurdle — after receiving a permit from the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.

Nuro, which was founded in June 2016 by Google alums Dave Ferguson and Jiajun Zhu, plans to start commercial delivery operations early next year. The so-called Autonomous Vehicle Deployment permit will allow Nuro to operate commercial services — meaning it can charge for delivery — in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. The intention is to start with its autonomous Toyota Prius vehicles in one city and one partner in the early part of 2021, Nuro’s chief legal and policy officer David Estrada said. The company will eventually transition to its purpose-built R2 delivery bots for its commercial service as well as add more partners and expand geographically.

While Nuro wouldn’t name the partner or city, it’s worth noting that the company is headquartered in Mountain View and has previously expressed a desire to start operations close to its main office.

“Issuing the first deployment permit is a significant milestone in the evolution of autonomous vehicles in California,” DMV Director Steve Gordon said in a press release issued Wednesday. “We will continue to keep the safety of the motoring public in mind as this technology develops.”

The deployment permit grants Nuro permission to use a fleet of light-duty driverless vehicles for a commercial delivery service on surface streets within designated parts of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, which includes the cities of Atherton, East Palo Alto, Los Altos Hills, Los Altos, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale and Woodside, according to the DMV. The vehicles have a maximum speed of 25 mph and are only approved to operate in fair weather conditions on streets with a speed limit of no more than 35 mph.

The announcement caps a milestone year for Nuro, which earlier Wednesday announced it had acquired self-driving trucks startup Ike. Nuro also raised another $500 million, which pushed its post-money valuation to $5 billion, and secured some key state and federal regulatory victories.

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