But it won't drive you to work or school just yet.
There are currently no vehicles on sale today capable of driving themselves above Level 3 autonomy, despite Tesla's claims of a full self-driving addition to its Autopilot feature. It may be a while before consumers can hop in a fully autonomous car and go to work, but commercial self-driving vehicles are much closer to becoming a reality. A company called Nuro just received the first-ever Autonomous Vehicle Deployment Permit from the California DMV.
This permit will allow Nuro to launch a commercial autonomous vehicle service in the state. Nuro's fleet will start by using the 2021 Toyota Prius, modified with autonomous technology. Over time, the fleet will also deploy a bespoke delivery vehicle called the R2 (pictured below), which can deliver items without the need for a driver.
Nuro says it will begin the delivery service with the help of partners in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, starting in 2021. The company has already announced several big-name partners, including CVS, Domino's, Kroger, and Walmart. While the list of partners isn't long, it provides a nice spread of goods that can be delivered autonomously to consumers. In the new year, shoppers will be able to order prescription drugs, pizza, and grocery items and have them delivered by a self-driving vehicle.
Nuro has improved its technology over the past four years with two successful commercial deployments in other states. It has already conducted driverless testing with R2 in the San Fransisco Bay Area, where the autonomous Prius fleet will soon be deployed. Nuro believes that driverless delivery will bring new benefits to Californian residents, especially in a post-Covid world. While it may change the landscape of delivery jobs, it could also create new jobs overseeing the driverless fleet's operation.
If you live in California and see a Prius, be sure to take a quick peek to see if it's a Nuro car.