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Nuro awarded ‘first ever’ autonomous vehicle permit in California

Nuro claims it has become “the first company” to receive a permit to deploy autonomous vehicles on public streets from the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

This permit will allow its vehicles to operate commercially on California roads in two counties near Nuro’s headquarters in the Bay Area.

Nuro says it will soon announce its first deployment in California with an established partner. The service will start with its fleet of Prius vehicles in fully autonomous mode, followed by its custom-designed electric R2 vehicles.

Writing on the company blog, David Estrada, chief legal and policy officer at Nuro, says: “The California DMV has been working towards this milestone for nearly a decade.

“Since California adopted one of the first autonomous vehicle laws in the country in 2012, the DMV has steadily crafted a regulatory framework that last year included small delivery vehicles like Nuro’s.

“This framework set up a three-stage permitting process for companies to move from testing with a safety driver, to driverless testing, and now finally, to commercial deployment.”

Despite challenging circumstances this year, 2020 has also been a year of important milestones for Nuro.

  • In February, R2 became the first self-driving vehicle to obtain a US Department of Transport exemption;
  • in April, Nuro became the second autonomous vehicle company to receive a driverless testing permit in California; and
  • in October Nuro announced that our R2 vehicles were being tested in three different states — with no drivers, no occupants, no chase cars.

Estrada says: “With this deployment permit we can bring a commercial autonomous delivery service to our friends and neighbors here in the Bay Area.

“Driverless delivery will have a big impact for Californians in the coming years. Services like Nuro’s will provide contactless access to goods in our communities.”

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