U.S. DOT grants Nuro first-ever autonomous vehicle exemption
Nuro announced the debut of the R2, its second-generation, custom-built vehicle. Additionally, the R2 was granted the first-ever exemption for an autonomous vehicle by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
This DOT exemption supports the company’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. It is the first autonomous vehicle to be granted an exemption by the DOT.
The R2 has improved upon existing safety features already present in the R1 vehicle, and it is introducing a number of new features, including:
- Standardized production: It was designed and assembled in the U.S. in partnership with Roush Enterprises, a Michigan-based full-service product development supplier. It has a more durable custom vehicle body, equipped to handle a greater variety of roads, climates, and weather conditions.
- Narrow vehicle profile: With the NHTSA exemption, R2 does not require side mirrors typically relied upon by a human driver. This vehicle has smooth, rounded contours where side mirrors otherwise would be placed, making it narrower and creating additional room for bicyclists and other road users.
- 360° vision: NHTSA’s exemption permits the vehicle to continue operating its rearview cameras while moving forward, since the vehicle will never be occupied by a human driver who could otherwise become distracted by the rear video display. Its ability to see a complete 360-degree view of the roads at all times is therefore preserved using LiDAR, radar, and cameras without any blind spots.
- Pedestrian-protecting front end: With the NHTSA exemption, R2 does not require a traditional, rigid windshield structure designed for driver visibility and protection of passengers. It features a pedestrian-protecting front end that absorbs energy and can collapse inward to better protect those outside of the vehicle.
- Larger, climate-controlled compartments: The vehicle features 65% larger capacity and compartments with temperature control to keep perishable goods fresh, including groceries or meals. Climate-controlled compartments expand the type and quantity of goods it can deliver, ensuring customer satisfaction and solving for a pain point in existing delivery models, without increasing vehicle width.
- Improved customer experience: The vehicle will be easier to interact with than ever before. It has redesigned doors to provide more headroom and clearer access to the compartments. It also has a larger exterior screen for unlocking compartments and interacting with the vehicle.
NHTSA’s decision to grant Nuro an exemption comes after three years of discussion and collaboration with the agency. R2 will soon join the company’s fleet of self-driving Prius vehicles in Houston, making deliveries to consumers on public roads.
For more information, visit https://nuro.ai.