First vehicle designed not to have human driver OK’d by U.S.

“We don’t understand how NHTSA can possibly justify prioritizing this petition over the dozens of actual safety rules and enforcement actions that continue to lay fallow while they plow corporate selected ground,” – Jason Levine, Executive Director, The Center for Auto Safety

 by Keith Laing

February 6, 2020

Washington —  A self-driving delivery vehicle with no driver’s seat, steering wheel or brake pedal has become the first to be cleared by the federal government to operate without the presence of a human.

Nuro Inc., a robotics company based in Mountain View, Calif., has been given permission to put up to 5,000 of its autonomous R2 electric vehicles on the road over a two-year period. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s green-lighting of the company’s petition is a milestone in the effort to win approval to put completely self-driving cars on the road en masse.

“As the first company to be granted approval for a self-driving vehicle exemption, it’s an important moment for Nuro and a milestone for the industry,” Nuro co-founder Dave Ferguson wrote in a blog post Thursday. “This decision provides regulatory certainty for Nuro to operate our second-generation self-driving vehicle, built to carry packages instead of people.”

NHTSA said it will “closely monitor Nuro’s operations” during and after the time period covered by its exemption application. The vehicles are classified as “low-speed,” meaning they can’t go over 25 mph, and will be built for city streets.

Click here to view the story from The Detroit News