In a statement, Nuro, a robotics company said it has received the first-ever permit to commercially deploy its self-driving vehicles in California. The development will allow the Silicon Valley firm to charge clients for its driverless delivery service.
Nuro relies on remote human operators who control multiple autonomous vehicles from miles away; the step allows the firms a pathway to profitability in the emerging field of self-driving technology.
Since 2017, the company has been testing autonomous vehicles on California’s roads with safety drivers, and earlier this year, it was authorized by the state regulators to test two driverless delivery vehicles in nine cities.
In a statement the company said it would launch a delivery service with a fleet of autonomous Toyota Priuses, and later add its own low-speed R2 vehicle, which will not have any pedals, or a steering wheel and will have more room for packages.
In November, Nuro raised $500 million in a funding round driven by a massive boost to e-commerce from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In February, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration permitted Nuro to deploy up to 5,000 low-speed electric delivery vehicles in Houston without human controls such as mirrors and steering wheels.