Nuro plans to start commercial delivery operations early next year. The state’s Autonomous Vehicle Deployment permit will allow Nuro to operate commercial services in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. The intention is to start with its autonomous Toyota Prius vehicles in the early part of 2021. The company will eventually transition to its purpose-built R2 delivery bots for its commercial service.
Nuro has followed a long and winding path to secure the deployment permit. In 2017, the California DMV issued Nuro an AV testing permit that required the company to have a human back-up driver behind the wheel. The company transitioned in December 2018 to the R1, the first step toward a vehicle designed exclusively for packages. Its second-generation vehicle, called the R2, was introduced in February 2020.
Nuro is the first company to get a permit to charge for rides in a self-driving car. The California Public Utilities Commission approved the permit last month. Nuro will have to submit a safety plan to the CPUC before it can use the service. The company will also have to provide data on the number of rides and the location of each ride.