News

Mountain View tech startup Nuro lands state's first autonomous vehicle permit

Company hopes to launch driverless delivery service vehicles in new year

With a new permit issued by the DMV on Dec. 23, Nuro can commercialize and profit off its delivery service to Bay Area residents. Courtesy Nuro.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles issued its first autonomous vehicle deployment permit to Nuro, a Mountain View-based technology company, bringing the state much closer to driverless delivery services of food, groceries and other goods.

The new permit issued Dec. 23 will allow Nuro to operate its autonomous vehicles for commercial purposes and soon make deliveries to the public — a service that seems particularly timely during the coronavirus pandemic.

"Over the past few years, we've worked diligently with the DMV to secure the necessary regulatory permits to help bring our self-driving delivery service to California," Aidan Ali-Sullivan, Nuro's regional lead of public policy and government relations, said in a statement. "We appreciate the work they put into this review process and look forward to bringing Nuro's self-driving delivery service to our fellow neighbors in California."

In April, the company was issued a testing permit, which limited Nuro to testing its autonomous vehicles in select cities throughout Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. It was the second technology company focused on autonomous vehicles to receive the permit from the state, alongside Alphabet Inc.'s Waymo.

During that time, Nuro had also deployed some of its custom-designed, electric autonomous vehicles, dubbed the R2, to deliver essential goods to health care workers and patients being treated at a temporary hospital set up in Sacramento's Sleep Train Arena.

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With the new deployment permit from the DMV, Nuro can now commercialize and profit off its delivery service to local residents.

Some of the same restrictions of the testing permit still apply. Vehicles will only be allowed on certain streets within Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, including in Atherton, East Palo Alto, Los Altos Hills, Los Altos, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale and Woodside. Also, the vehicles are only allowed to operate in "fair weather conditions on streets with a speed limit of no more than 35 mph," according to a statement released by the DMV.

The company said in a press release that it will begin its first deployment in the new year with autonomous Toyota Prius vehicles and later introduce its R2 vehicles.

Though a robot food delivery service in Silicon Valley is not entirely novel — Starship Technologies had previously deployed their six-wheeled cube robots in Redwood City and Mountain View — Nuro hopes to go beyond small takeout with its larger vehicles, allowing the company to deliver groceries, larger meals such as pizza and, considering the ongoing health crisis, medicine.

"Services like Nuro's will provide contactless access to goods in our communities," said David Estrada, chief legal and policy officer at Nuro. "A parent in Mountain View will be able to get the week's groceries delivered, without bundling the family into the car. A grandmother in East Palo Alto will gain access to affordable home delivery of everyday necessities."

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Mountain View tech startup Nuro lands state's first autonomous vehicle permit

Company hopes to launch driverless delivery service vehicles in new year

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Dec 30, 2020, 12:42 pm

The California Department of Motor Vehicles issued its first autonomous vehicle deployment permit to Nuro, a Mountain View-based technology company, bringing the state much closer to driverless delivery services of food, groceries and other goods.

The new permit issued Dec. 23 will allow Nuro to operate its autonomous vehicles for commercial purposes and soon make deliveries to the public — a service that seems particularly timely during the coronavirus pandemic.

"Over the past few years, we've worked diligently with the DMV to secure the necessary regulatory permits to help bring our self-driving delivery service to California," Aidan Ali-Sullivan, Nuro's regional lead of public policy and government relations, said in a statement. "We appreciate the work they put into this review process and look forward to bringing Nuro's self-driving delivery service to our fellow neighbors in California."

In April, the company was issued a testing permit, which limited Nuro to testing its autonomous vehicles in select cities throughout Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. It was the second technology company focused on autonomous vehicles to receive the permit from the state, alongside Alphabet Inc.'s Waymo.

During that time, Nuro had also deployed some of its custom-designed, electric autonomous vehicles, dubbed the R2, to deliver essential goods to health care workers and patients being treated at a temporary hospital set up in Sacramento's Sleep Train Arena.

With the new deployment permit from the DMV, Nuro can now commercialize and profit off its delivery service to local residents.

Some of the same restrictions of the testing permit still apply. Vehicles will only be allowed on certain streets within Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, including in Atherton, East Palo Alto, Los Altos Hills, Los Altos, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale and Woodside. Also, the vehicles are only allowed to operate in "fair weather conditions on streets with a speed limit of no more than 35 mph," according to a statement released by the DMV.

The company said in a press release that it will begin its first deployment in the new year with autonomous Toyota Prius vehicles and later introduce its R2 vehicles.

Though a robot food delivery service in Silicon Valley is not entirely novel — Starship Technologies had previously deployed their six-wheeled cube robots in Redwood City and Mountain View — Nuro hopes to go beyond small takeout with its larger vehicles, allowing the company to deliver groceries, larger meals such as pizza and, considering the ongoing health crisis, medicine.

"Services like Nuro's will provide contactless access to goods in our communities," said David Estrada, chief legal and policy officer at Nuro. "A parent in Mountain View will be able to get the week's groceries delivered, without bundling the family into the car. A grandmother in East Palo Alto will gain access to affordable home delivery of everyday necessities."

Comments

Lenny Siegel
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Dec 30, 2020 at 2:37 pm
Lenny Siegel, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Dec 30, 2020 at 2:37 pm
8 people like this

I visited Nuro when I was mayor, and I was impressed by the technology. However, no one could tell me where the person-less vehicles would be allowed to park when they make deliveries or simply when they are awaiting instructions.


Dan Waylonis
Registered user
Jackson Park
on Dec 30, 2020 at 3:53 pm
Dan Waylonis, Jackson Park
Registered user
on Dec 30, 2020 at 3:53 pm
4 people like this

I've seen the little wagons milling around the downtown streets. They're pretty good, although they seem to get flummoxed by obstacles on the sidewalk. One thing not mentioned in the article is that they have a backup where the vehicle can request human intervention to help them out of a jam. It seems like a sensible hybrid technology and I wish them the best of success!


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Dec 30, 2020 at 7:50 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Dec 30, 2020 at 7:50 pm
13 people like this

My only question.

Who is liable for any injuries or accidents with these items?

I think that AI even with my background in IT has not yet gotten to the point of replacing a brain operating a vehicle.

And when the PUBLIC is out there as guinea pigs in an experiment they did NOT provide INFORMED consent, this is crossing a very dangerous line.


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