US agency approves vehicle designed not to have human driver

Michigan

FILE – In this July 1, 2016 file photo, drivers work their way out of Dallas during rush hour. The U.S. government’s road safety agency says traffic deaths fell by a small amount for the second straight year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration attributed the 2.4% drop partially to technology in newer vehicles that can prevent crashes. The agency says the downward trend is continuing into 2019. First-half estimates show fatalities down 3.4%. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

DETROIT (AP) – The U.S. highway safety agency for the first time has approved a company’s request to deploy a self-driving vehicle that doesn’t meet federal safety standards for human-driven cars and trucks.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it granted temporary approval for Silicon Valley robotics company Nuro to run a low-speed autonomous delivery vehicle without side- and rear-view mirrors used by human drivers.

Nuro announced plans in December for low-speed shuttles in partnership with Walmart to deliver groceries in Houston. Under the temporary approval, Nuro will have to make real-time safety reports to the agency. The agency says it will use enforcement powers if it finds any evidence of an unreasonable safety risks.

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