What does Nuro’s NHTSA exemption mean for driverless vehicle development?

In February 2020, NHTSA awarded its first AV exemption to Nuro.ai, but what precedent does this set for driverless vehicle development? By Jack Hunsley

The autonomous vehicle (AV) is a complex beast, but for many players developing the technology, the hope is that the commercial vehicle (CV) sector—and last-mile delivery in particular—will provide a perfect proving ground. Not only can automated trucks, vans and delivery shuttles begin to earn back some of their development costs through early real-world deployment, but the fact that these vehicles could transport just cargo, and not humans, also hugely reduces liability risk.

To date, though, such AV deployment has been kept relatively small scale. This is partially due to the immaturity of the technology, but another limitation has been the rules and regulations that surround the design of these vehicles.

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