Nuro's ability to make deliveries at the street level makes it unique when compared to other autonomous vehicles. Delivery robots from the logistics giants FedEx and Amazon stick to the sidewalk. Meanwhile, driverless trucking companies are, for now, sticking to the highway for their autonomous operations.
R2 is a second-generation vehicle from the AV company, which launched its R1 vehicle in Scottsdale, AZ in 2018 in a delivery pilot with Kroger. The R2's design includes zero-emission propulsion and a custom battery solution, and due to the exemption, it will not include features such as mirrors or a windshield, which are traditionally required by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT).
Ferguson said the exemption follows three years of discussion with the agency to figure out how to separate requirements for zero-occupant delivery vehicles, like the R2, from driverless vehicles designed to carry passengers. In late 2018, the company submitted a voluntary safety report to USDOT to accelerate deployment.