Nuro Inc., an American robotic startup company, got the regulatory approval to launch the first ever commercial driverless vehicle service in the State of California. The company has been granted the first ever “Autonomous Vehicle Deployment Permit” by the California State’s Department of Motor Vehicles.
Early on this year, Nuro was given permission to test its driverless vehicles on public roads in California. Then, it expanded their pilot testing to three Cities in the US. Although, the new approval would mean that the company can now commercially operate, with corresponding fees, driverless delivery services in several designated places or cities.
Nuro’s acquisition of Ike Robotics
Wheatley of siliconangle said that the much-awaited announcement has been made hours after Nuro declared the acquisition of Ike Robotics, an automated truck company who delivers long hauls of cargoes.
From the very beginning of its inception, Ike Robotics had a close relationship with Nuro. In fact, when Ike Robotics was launched last 2018, they were just sharing the office of Nuro, who had a minority stake from the beginning.
Ike use the same concept as Nuro
Basically, Ike uses the same concept as Nuro, using the same software but customized it a bit to power up the autonomous trucks just so it can deliver at a longer distance with much bigger loads.
However, unlike Nuro, Ike still has a driver behind the wheel. Ike has already tested their self-driving trucks on California’s public roads, but there’s always a human driver behind the wheel. Autonomous driving can only be operated on highways and not on the city streets.
R2: the driverless delivery vehicle
What Nuro did differently from its competitors was that instead of building an autonomous driving technology for cars and trucks, they came up with a driverless delivery vehicle called the R2. The R2 can easily be noticed because it is smaller than the standard car and has no steering wheels and seats inside, just a loading bay to place the goods with the capacity up to 400 pounds cargoes.
The R2 is designed with an artificial intelligence program, it has an array of sensors and cameras that uses thermal imaging but it also has regular cameras in order to see the environment. Nuro claims that with R2, they will not just provide for delivery of goods more efficiently, but also improve road safety since R2 could only run up to the maximum speed of just 25 miles per hour.
R2 has been built to deliver, without a driver, a wide range of goods – groceries, cooked food, medicines and other items. At the onset of the pandemic, the company managed to provide contactless delivery services using R2 although only limited to California’s makeshift care facilities. R2 has been a great help in carrying food, water and medical supplies to doctors and patients without human contact.
Sooner or later, GPS will be implemented on the delivery service of the driverless vehicles. There’s no other way to see where it’s located without a smartphone! A smartphone such as the Huawei Mate 40 Pro and the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra could prove themselves very handy.