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Nuro now has permission to launch a commercial service using its self-driving vehicles. Photo: Nuro

Self-driving tech company Nuro says it will begin charging customers for robot delivery services early next year after obtaining a critical permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

Why it matters: While many companies are allowed to test autonomous vehicles in California, Nuro is the first company to receive a permit to commercially deploy them on public streets.

Between the lines: Under California law, there is a three-stage permitting process for companies to move from testing AVs with a safety driver, to driverless testing, and finally, to commercial deployment. 

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

Details: Nuro will begin delivery service with partners in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, using its self-driving Toyota Priuses, then gradually add its purpose-built R2 vehicles to the fleet.

  • 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.
  • The low-speed R2 has an exemption from federal motor vehicle safety standards which allows it to operate even though it lacks certain features of human-driven cars like a windshield and side-view mirrors.

Of note: Nuro also announced Wednesday that it acquired Ike Robotics, a self-driving long-haul trucking startup with which it has been closely aligned. Terms were not announced.

Go deeper

Rivian raises another $2.65 billion as electric truck launch nears

Rivian R1T pickup truck. Photo: Rivian

Electric vehicle startup Rivian has raised another $2.65 billion as it builds momentum toward this year's launch of its first pickup truck, SUV and Amazon delivery vehicles.

Why it matters: Rivian continues to attract big money from private investors, even as other startups take advantage of Wall Street enthusiasm for EVs by going public through a series of mergers with special purpose acquisition companies.

Updated 14 mins ago - Sports

U.S. swim team wins 6 Tokyo Olympics medals, including 1st gold

Chase Kalisz of Team United States celebrates after winning the Men's 400m Individual Medley Final on day two of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

Swimmer Chase Kalisz has become the first Team United States Olympian to win gold at the Tokyo Games.

The big picture: The Rio 2016 silver medalist's winning time in the men's 400 meters Individual Medley Final was 4 minutes 9.42 seconds. His teammate Jay Litherland took silver, .86 seconds behind him.

Golfer Bryson DeChambeau will miss Olympics after testing positive for COVID

Bryson DeChambeau of the United States on the 18th tee during Day Two of the 149th Open at Royal St George’s Golf Club on July 16 in Sandwich, England. Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Golfer Bryson DeChambeau has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss the Tokyo Olympic Games, USA Golf announced late Saturday.

What's happening: "Patrick Reed will replace DeChambeau and is undergoing the requisite testing protocol" Sunday and Monday before his expected departure for Japan, per a USA Golf statement.