Nuro’s Green-Light For Driverless Deliveries in California

California has given the green-light for the first commercial delivery service operated entirely by driverless vehicles.

The BBC reports that AV specialist Nuro now plans to kick-off its driverless delivery operations as early as next year. It is one of only four companies, including Waymo, AutoX and Zoox, that have previously been granted permits to test autonomous technology on the State’s streets and has been testing its R2 vehicles since April.

The new permit allows the company to charge consumers for the delivery service for the first time. Vehicles will be limited to 35mph and will be restricted to operating in “fair weather” conditions.

The R2 uses radar, thermal imaging and 360-degree cameras to direct its movement all without  any driver accommodation or steering wheel, pedals or side-view mirrors. With an egg-shaped chassis, the vehicle that is tiny by US automotive standards and boasts two temperature-controlled compartments for deliveries. Doors are activated and elevate open when a customer enters a unique a code on the vehicle’s arrival at its destination.

California Department of Motor Vehicles director, Steve Gordon, said: “Issuing the first deployment permit is a significant milestone in the evolution of autonomous vehicles in California. We will continue to keep the safety of the motoring public in mind as this technology develops.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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