Nuro to deploy driverless delivery vehicle

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The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has granted Nuro temporary exemption from certain low-speed vehicle standards for its driverless electric delivery vehicle, the R2.

The Mount View, California-based robotics company has designed the R2 to have no human occupant and operate exclusively using an automated driving system. The R2 includes the same automated driving system as Nuro’s previous vehicle but does not have certain features, including mirrors and a windshield. Nuro is permitted to produce and deploy no more than 5,000 R2s during the two-year exemption period.

NHTSA stated that exemption will not lower the R2’s safety, but it is in the public interest to maintain greater oversight of the R2 than typical for an exempt vehicle.

Exemption comes with conditions including mandatory reporting of information about operations and required outreach to the communities where the R2 will be deployed. Nuro intends to use the vehicles for local delivery services for restaurants, grocery stores and other businesses.

Elaine Chao, US secretary of transportation said, “Since this is a low-speed, self-driving delivery vehicle, certain features that the Department has traditionally required – such as mirrors and a windshield for vehicles carrying drivers – no longer make sense.”

James Owens, NHTSA acting administrator added, “NHTSA is dedicated to facilitating the safe testing and deployment of advanced vehicle technologies, including innovative vehicle designs, which hold great promise for future safety improvements. As always, we will not hesitate to use defect authority to protect public safety as necessary.”

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