DETROIT — For the first time, the U.S. government’s highway safety agency has approved a company’s request to deploy a self-driving vehicle that doesn’t need to meet the same federal safety standards for cars and trucks driven by humans.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration granted temporary approval for Silicon Valley robotics company Nuro to run low-speed autonomous delivery vehicles that were designed without any accommodations for human drivers. That means no side and rear-view mirrors, windshield wipers, steering wheels or brake pedals.
The vehicles previously were subject to federal standards for low-speed vehicles that travel under 25 miles per hour. Those didn’t need to have steering wheels, brake pedals or human backup drivers, but were required to have windshield wipers, backup camera displays and mirrors. Nuro’s battery-powered vehicles can be monitored and controlled remotely by a human operator, if needed.