US Federal agency gives green light to autonomous vehicle

World Yen Doran 08-Feb-2020
Autonomous self-driving car is recognizing road signs. Computer vision and artificial intelligence concept. © Vchalup | Dreamstime.com

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) granted temporary approval for Silicon Valley robotics company, Nuro to begin running self-driving cars.

The company said it plans to deploy fewer than 100 vehicles this year, but NHTSA gave permission to run as many as 2,500 low-speed autonomous delivery vehicles.

These self-driving vehicles were designed without any accommodations for human drivers. That means no side and rear-view mirrors, windshield wipers, steering wheels or brake pedals.

These self-diving vehicles that travel under 25 miles per hour do not need to meet the same federal safety standards for cars and trucks driven by humans.

Nuro’s battery-powered vehicles can be monitored and controlled remotely by a human operator, if needed.

Under the temporary approval, Nuro will have to make real-time safety reports to the agency. Nuro also will have to hold regular meetings with the agency and liaise with the community in areas where the vehicles will travel.

Nuro of Mountain View, California, announced a new version of its automated delivery vehicle called the “R2” on Feb. 6. R2 being the second generation vehicle custom built to deliver goods, not people.

In December, Nuro announced plans to use its low-speed delivery vehicles in partnership with Walmart to deliver groceries in Houston. Nuro also was testing deliveries in Arizona and Houston.