The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) approved a regulatory exemption for Nuro’s second-generation vehicle, R2.
This DOT exemption supports Nuro’s deployment of R2 on public roads without certain equipment required for passenger vehicles, such as side mirrors or a windshield. R2 is a low-speed vehicle designed solely to carry goods and not human occupants.
Nuro is the first company to be granted approval for a self-driving vehicle exemption.
The custom-designed R2 will be used for last-mile delivery of consumer products, groceries, and hot food from local stores and restaurants. It is specially designed with size, weight, pedestrian-protecting front end, operating speed, electric propulsion, and cautious driving habits.
R2 will soon join Nuro’s fleet of self-driving Prius vehicles in Houston, making deliveries to consumers on public roads. The deployment of R2 comes just over one year after Nuro launched the world’s first unmanned delivery service with its first-generation vehicle, R1, in Scottsdale, Az.
"We are excited to begin public road testing with R2 in Houston in the coming weeks," the company wrote in a blog post. "This will provide additional valuable real-world data on how people react to our delivery vehicles. The launch of R2 marks a new phase for Nuro, as we work towards deploying our delivery services at city scale in Houston with multiple partners."
The R2 was built in partnership with Roush, a full-service product development supplier based in Michigan. Nuro claims the new design is more durable, enabling us to handle inclement weather. The vehicle features an updated sensor array, two-thirds more compartment space, and temperature control to help keep food fresh.
R2 uses a custom battery solution that nearly doubled the R2 battery size, enabling all day operation.