California approves driverless delivery service

World

Published: 2020-12-26 12:23

Last Updated: 2021-03-08 08:27


Nuro - Photo from BBC
Nuro - Photo from BBC

California has approved its first commercial driverless delivery service, which could start operations in 2021. The vehicle R2 was made by a start-up robotics company called Nuro.

R2 has two temperature-controlled compartments and doors open when the recipient enters a code. The vehicle's speed will be limited to 56km/hour and will only operate in fair weather conditions.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles director Steve Gordon said “Issuing the first deployment permit is a significant milestone in the evolution of autonomous vehicles in California.” He added that safety will continue to be a priority as the technology develops.

The driverless vehicle has 12 cameras providing 'high-definition, constant, and 360° views of the environment', a LIDAR on top of the vehicle, radar for detecting objects and estimating speed, ultrasonics and audio sensors, and on-board computing power without network connectivity limitations, according to Nuro's official website.

Professor David Bailey from the University of Birmingham said, "It's essentially a limited trial, but still a significant step towards a driverless future."

The start-up was founded by two former Google engineers and is funded by Softbank, according to the BBC.