Driverless delivery service Nuro has been cleared for California’s first Autonomous Vehicle Deployment Permit, meaning the company could soon launch a fleet of autonomous commercial vehicles on city streets around the state.
Nuro was first given clearance to test fully driverless vehicles in California earlier this year, but the new permit means that the company will now become the first autonomous vehicle company allowed to charge for its commercial services. According to its website, Nuro specializes in transporting local goods “quickly, safely, and affordably,” and is designed to handle “errands of all kinds — from dinner to dry cleaning.”
In a Medium post, David Estrada, Nuro’s chief legal and policy officer, said that the company will soon “announce our first deployment in California with an established partner.” While deliveries are set to begin with the company’s tiny fleet of autonomous Toyota Prius cars, Nuro also has custom electric R2 vehicles waiting in the wings.
Issued by the California DMV, the permit will initially only allow Nuro vehicles to operate in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties — meaning that the autonomous vehicles will be able to make deliveries to the Nuro headquarters in Silicon Valley, but would not yet be permitted to make trips to nearby San Francisco or Oakland.
While the vehicles will be permitted on city streets at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour, the vehicles will only be allowed to drive in “fair weather conditions,” which would mean no penne alla vodka deliveries on a rainy night.
The announcement of the commercial vehicle permit comes as Nuro is trying to shore up its resources in the self-driving market: On the same day the clearance was announced, the company also said that it had acquired Ike, a startup aimed at commercializing self-driving trucks.