Self-driving startup Nuro cleared to commercialize service in Calif.; firm acquires self-driving truck startup Ike

It’s the second big milestone for Nuro this year. In February, the company became the first to receive an exemption from federal motor vehicle safety standards issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation that allowed it to deploy a vehicle that did not contain otherwise mandatory items such as windshield wipers and side-view mirrors on its R2, a zero-occupant vehicle.

The company closed a $500 million funding round in November, which brought its total funding so far to $1.5 billion.

It’s not clear how Ike will accelerate Nuro’s first-mover advantage in last-mile deliveries, but the two companies have always had a close relationship. Founded in 2018, Ike licensed Nuro’s self-driving system.

When the founders of the respective companies met, Nuro co-founder Dave Ferguson said, “there was an instant connection around first moving goods rather than people.” Ferguson said company executives have served as unofficial advisers for each other in recent years.

“Having Ike join us in accelerating our progress is a truly special moment that feels like a bit of a homecoming,” Ferguson wrote in a blog post announcing the acquisition. “When Ike first started, they did so inside our office. We shared a common space and a common goal, with lots of excitement and too few conference rooms.”

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