Neuro Inc. is the first company to operate a driverless delivery business in California.
California’s Department of Motor Vehicles on Wednesday approved a license for Mountain View, California. Nuro approved to make commercial deliveries for deploying their autonomous vehicles on public roads.
“Issuing the first deployment permit is an important milestone in the development of autonomous vehicles in California,” DMV director Steve Gordon said in a statement. “We will continue to take motoring safety into consideration as this technology develops.”
In a blog post, Neuro’s Chief Legal and Policy Officer David Estrada said, “We have extensively tested our self-driving technology and built a track record of safe operation over the last four years.”
Neuro said it would soon announce a delivery partner, and intends to deploy its fleet of modified Toyota Prius vehicles in two Southern Bay Area counties “in fully autonomous mode”. This is followed by the rollout of its custom-designed R2 electric vehicles.
The R2 is a small, box-like vehicle that can only run at speeds of up to 25 mph, with no steering wheel and only room to package. It will only be allowed to operate on certain roads and in fair weather conditions.
The DMV said Nuro has been authorized to test autonomous vehicles with a safety driver inside 2017, and was approved for a completely driverless test ride in April.
“Driverless delivery will have a major impact on California residents in the coming years,” Estrada said in a blog post. “In Mountain View one would be able to deliver the week’s groceries to the parents, without tying the family in the car. A grandmother in East Palo Alto will have access to affordable home delivery of everyday needs. And a young girl from San Jose will have the opportunity to start a new career overseeing the operation of a driverless fleet of vehicles that deliver on these promises. ”
Neuro was founded in 2016 by former engineers at Google’s Waymo. It has raised $ 1.5 billion in funds, according to Crunchbase, including Softbank’s 9984 to $ 940 million.