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02/26/2020

Regulation Exemptions Propel Driverless Vehicles Forward

Mike Troy
Editorial Director, Grocery Group
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Regulation Exemptions Propel Driverless Vehicles Forward
Nuro says that with the new R2, it can bring its service to new cities

Self-driving vehicle maker Nuro is pioneering a new era of autonomy after two federal agencies granted the company a first-of-its-kind exemption for a true driverless vehicle. The company is testing its second-generation R2 model on the roadways of Houston after launching the R1 model in Scottsdale, Ariz., in partnership with Kroger in December 2018.

After the decision by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Mountain View, Calif.-based Nuro can avoid certain regulations that were written decades ago for conventional passenger vehicles and trucks in an era when zero-occupant vehicles weren’t imagined.

[The exemption] “allows us to replace the mirrors relied on by human drivers with cameras and other sensors. We can round the edges of the vehicle body to take up less road space, and make it safer for those around us,” Nuro co-founder Tom Ferguson wrote in a blog post . “In addition, we can remove the windshield meant to let human drivers see out and keep passengers in — instead using a specially designed panel at the vehicle’s front that absorbs energy, better protecting pedestrians. And we won’t have to ever turn off the rear-view cameras that help R2 see, providing a constant 360-degree view with no blind spots.”

Progressive Grocer sister publication Retail Leader has more on Nuro's cargo capacity and, vehicle design, as well as what's next for driverless vehicles. 

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