Earlier this year, our self-driving delivery robot R2 became the first autonomous vehicle to receive an approved exemption from the US Department of Transportation. R2 then became the second autonomous vehicle to receive a driverless testing permit in California. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we set up contactless delivery services with R2 at temporary care facilities in California to carry food, water, and medical supplies to patients and doctors with the goal of decreasing points of contagion.
Today, we’re excited to announce another first for Nuro. For the past few months, R2 has been testing on city streets fully autonomously in three different states. No drivers. No occupants. No chase cars.
Here’s a short video of R2 on the road in Mountain View, CA, Houston, TX, and Phoenix, AZ.
We built R2 to autonomously deliver a wide range of goods — prepared food, groceries, medicine, and retail products — so that consumers and communities could have more time, more access, safer roads, and reduced emissions.
Nuro and R2 won’t do this alone. Retail partners, government policy makers, law enforcement, and community groups will be essential to developing public trust in an entirely new way of delivering local goods. And it will take a lot of new workers. A recent study by transportation specialists at Steer found that, from 2025 to 2035, 3.4 million jobs will be created in this new industry.
We recently celebrated the four-year mark since a small passionate team gathered around a shared mission: to accelerate the benefits of robotics for everyday life. We are incredibly proud of what our expanded team has accomplished as we’ve grown, and especially as we’ve experienced this most challenging year. Today’s progress marks an exciting step forward on our path to fostering safe and sustainable communities, and giving people more time to spend on the things — and people — they care about the most.