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Non-passenger autonomous vehicle gets the green light for US roads.

NHTSA today approved the first vehicle that doesn't meet traditional safety standards for cars and trucks.

  • The diminutive vehicle, from startup Nuro, is designed for delivering groceries and other goods over short distances. It's partnered with Kroger, Domino's and Walmart for delivery tests.
  • Nuro was founded in 2016 by Jiajun Zhu and Dave Ferguson, two former researchers from Google's self-driving car program (before it was spun out into Waymo).
  • The company is on its second vehicle design, which it calls the R2. According to Nuro, the R2 is missing "features of traditional, passenger-carrying vehicles," such as side- and rearview mirrors, as well as things like a steering wheel or seats for people.
  • "Since this is a low-speed self-driving delivery vehicle, certain features that the department traditionally required no longer make sense," Department of Transportation secretary Elaine Chao said in a release.
  • Nuro is testing its bots around Houston. It previously tested its fleet in Scottsdale, Ariz.
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