The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has granted an exemption, or permission to be tested on actual US roads, to fully autonomous low speed self-driving delivery vehicle Nuro’s R2.

The company has been working with the government agency for a period of three years, starting from October 2018, but now R2 will be tested for local deliveries in real life setting in Houston, Texas.

Currently the rules for testing vehicles require the driver, but according to the US transport secretary Elaine Chao, with the top speed of the R2 at 25mph, the requirements just “no longer make sense”. 

The autonomous delivery startup Nuro founded by two former Google engineers raised $940 million in financing from Japanese SoftBank Vision Fund last year, according to Tech Crunch. The first tests of previous Nuro’s vehicle R1 were conducted in Arizona.

Since it is the first precedent of the kind, Nuro’s co-founder Dave Ferguson named it a “milestone” for the whole industry:

“Moving forward, we must modernize the existing regulations that never envisioned a vehicle without a driver or occupants, and everyone in the industry must work to ensure self-driving technology is tested and deployed in the safest possible vehicles”

As Future Time previously reported, n December startup Bluespace.ai, focused on automating urban mobility with AI, has raised $3.5 million, while Plus.ai self-driving truck has successfully passed the across America commercial journey test. Tesla also plans to improve its AI for self-driving cars with optimizing information inflow for its deep learning system.

Image Credit: Nuro

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