California grants first permit for commercial use of self-driving cars to Nuro

California-based robotics company Nuro can start using its self-driving cars for commercial use on some streets near its Bay Area headquarters after receiving a permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles. 

The California DMV said Wednesday it issued its first autonomous vehicle deployment permit to Nuro, allowing the robotics company to start deploying its driverless delivery cars. 

“Issuing the first deployment permit is a significant milestone in the evolution of autonomous vehicles in California,” DMV Director Steve Gordon said in a statement. “We will continue to keep the safety of the motoring public in mind as this technology develops.”


The deployment permit allows Nero to use a fleet of driverless vehicles for commercial delivery on streets within designated parts of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. The vehicles have a maximum speed of 25 mph and are only approved to operate in fair weather conditions on streets with a speed limit of no more than 35 mph, according to the DMV. 

Nuro has had state authority to test its autonomous vehicles on public roads with a safety driver since 2017, and the company received a driverless trading permit in April. 

Nuro will soon announce its first deployment in California with “an established partner,” the company’s chief legal and policy officer David Estrada said in a blog post. 

“Driverless delivery will have a big impact for Californians in the coming years. Services like Nuro’s will provide contactless access to goods in our communities,” Estrada said. 

“We’re excited to see these benefits grow into the everyday lives of the people in our communities, in the places we also call home,” he added. 

The service will start with Nuro’s fleet of Prius vehicles in fully autonomous mode, followed by its custom-designed electric R2 vehicles, according to Nuro.