According to a report by NBC Montana, the U.S. Department of Transportation has temporarily approved the use of low-speed driverless delivery vehicles.
The vehicles known as “R2” and produced by NURO based in California, has teamed with Walmart to deliver groceries in Houston, and Kroger to deliver groceries in both Houston and in various locations in Arizona.
R2, not only has no driver, there is no steering wheel, brake or accelerator pedal, mirrors, and other items typically found on a car and not required for low speed vehicles designed for top speeds less than 25 MPH.
The concept is simple. The customer places an order which is filled by the supplier and loaded into R2. Delivery information is provided to R2, an access code is provided to the customer, and R2 departs on a deliver route. Once at the delivery location, R2 parks curbside, the customer is notified and goes to R2. The access code is entered, the door opens on R2, and the customer removes the ordered supplies, closing the door and R2 makes its way along the assigned route.
In My View
This is the beginning of autonomous vehicle use in our society. Where we are now experiencing the use of driverless cars for delivery, it will not be long before we see them in use by ride share services and other modes of transportation. Imagine you need a ride. Like Uber and Lyft, you use your app to enter pick up and destination. An autonomous vehicle arrives, you enter it, and are driven to your destination, all without a driver or the stress of driving yourself.
For now it may be focused on short distances, but in the future, it is quite possible you could arrange for long range transportation, perhaps even with the ability to relax, take a nap, or even sleep during an overnight trip. Given these will be vehicles using electric drive systems, it will also eliminate the use of fossil fuels.
The question now is not one of the technology, but human acceptance. Are we ready to accept that autonomous vehicles are real, they are here, and we are facing a potential revolutionary shift and digital disruption in transportation?