Today, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) approved a regulatory exemption for R2, Nuro’s second-generation vehicle.
SoftBank Group-backed autonomous vehicle startup Nuro is allowed to temporarily deploy up to 5,000 low-speed electric delivery vehicles without human controls like mirrors and steering wheels. This decision provides regulatory certainty for Nuro to operate its self-driving vehicle, built to carry packages instead of people. Nuro custom-designed R2 to enrich local commerce with last-mile delivery of consumer products, groceries, and hot food from local stores and restaurants.
In the coming weeks, R2 will begin public road testing to prepare for its first deliveries to customers’ homes with our partners in Houston, Texas. With this vehicle, Nuro can also bring its service to new cities.
Nuro's second-generation vehicle, R2, retains the unique design and the key characteristics of the first vehicle, the R1 robot, which launched in Scottsdale, Arizona in December 2018 with Kroger.
Nuro partnered with Roush, a full-service product development supplier based in Michigan, to design and assemble high-quality vehicles in the United States. The new vehicle has a more durable body, updated sensor array with both supplier-provided and custom, in-house sensors. The R2 also offers two-thirds more compartment space without increasing vehicle width, along with temperature control to help keep food fresh. R2 uses a custom battery solution that nearly doubled the R2 battery size, enabling all day operation.
Today’s decision shows that “exemption” allows Nuro to replace the mirrors relied on by human drivers with cameras and other sensors. Nuro can also round the edges of the vehicle body to take up less road spaces. In addition, the windshield meant to let human drivers see out and keep passengers in can be removed. Instead, it the car will use a specially designed panel at the vehicle’s front that absorbs energy, better protecting pedestrians.