Nuro is an autonomous vehicle company that has been testing its vehicles in California for several years. The company says that the coronavirus pandemic is forcing people to stay indoors, and the need for autonomous, driverless, and passengerless delivery services has never been higher. The State of California has granted Nuro a permit to test its recently unveiled R2 autonomous vehicle on streets in California.
The testing will start in the Silicon Valley region, and the R2 vehicle that will be tested there is said to be neighborhood-friendly. The testing regime will be operated in close cooperation with the DMV, local leaders, and law enforcement. Nuro says that community education and engagement is a critical part of the DMV permitting process and over the next weeks and months, it’s planning various remote community engagement activities with Mountain View law enforcement and first responders.
The goal of training is to be sure that community leaders know how to interact with the vehicles on public roads, particularly in emergencies. Nuro also says that residents of Mountain View and the surrounding areas may have already seen its Prius vehicles on the streets, which use human operators behind the wheel. R2 vehicles will be driverless and will be testing in both Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.
The permit that was granted for vehicle testing will also allow Nuro to begin conducting deliveries with local retail partners. The company says that it is currently giving top priority to keeping its workforce safe, but is actively engaged in logistical planning for the day public road testing can begin.
There is no indication of when Nuro thinks it will be able to begin testing of the autonomous vehicles due to the current shelter-in-place orders in effect in California. There’s also no mention of who the local partners are for the delivery services.