Nuro Inc. today unveiled its third-generation autonomous delivery vehicle. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company said it expects to scale its new flagship model, also called Nuro, for robotic delivery service to millions of people across the U.S.
“Five years ago, we set out to build an autonomous vehicle and delivery service designed to run errands, giving people back valuable time,” stated Dave Ferguson, co-founder and president of Nuro. “Through our strategic partnerships with Domino’s, FedEx, Kroger, 7-Eleven, and more, we are doing just that—improving road safety, sustainability, and overall access to goods delivery.”
“With the introduction of our new flagship model and the ground-breaking of our new production facility—one of the industry’s first end-of-line manufacturing facilities in America—we are excited about the opportunity to fulfill our vision of improving everyday life through autonomous delivery at scale.”
Nuro has been piloting its autonomous vehicles for local deliveries in Texas, Arizona, and California. Last year, the company closed on $600 million in Series D funding. Its announcement came a day after Magna International Inc. acquired autonomous shuttle developer Optimus Ride Inc.
Nuro designed for safety, sustainability
Nuro said its third-generation vehicle is designed to carry more goods and enable more deliveries, with twice the cargo volume of its second-generation vehicle. The automotive production-grade vehicle will also feature modular inserts to customize storage and new temperature-controlled compartments to keep goods warm or cool.
Since all of Nuro’s vehicles are designed for transporting goods and not passengers, the new vehicle continues to prioritize the safety of other road users and in particular pedestrians and cyclists, claimed the company.
Safety enhancements will include an external air bag to further improve safety for pedestrians outside the vehicle. A multi-modal sensing suite, including cameras, radars, lidar, and thermal cameras, will create a redundant 360-degree view of the world for Nuro to keep track of its surroundings.
As part of Nuro's commitment to fully electric and zero-emissions vehicles, the company said it will use 100% renewable energy for all vehicle charging and facilities for the first time starting this month. In addition, Nuro is releasing its first sustainability highlights report, covering actions the company has taken toward sustainability thus far and upcoming plans for the year ahead.
BYD to build electric, autonomous vehicles
Nuro said its new model will be produced in a partnership with BYD North America and completed at Nuro’s new $40 million end-of-line factory and closed-course test track in southern Nevada. The facilities have the capacity to manufacture and test tens of thousands of delivery vehicles per year to ensure they are ready for deployment.
BYD will assemble globally sourced hardware components for the vehicle platforms. Nuro added that it will complete the final steps of manufacturing and make the autonomous vehicles ready for deployment.
“BYD attaches great importance to this collaboration with Nuro,” said Stella Li, executive vice president of BYD Co. and president of BYD Motors Inc. “As one of the world’s leading electric vehicle manufacturers and a turnkey solution provider, BYD will leverage the manufacturing capacity of its Lancaster facility to support Nuro and bring more jobs to California.”
Nuro added that it expects its southern Nevada facilities to be fully operational this year. It said the manufacturing and testing facilities will create an initial 250 jobs with long-term growth potential in the autonomous vehicle industry.
Customers and strategic partners
In addition, Nuro said its strategic partnerships with industry leaders have continued to expand. Last year, the company announced a multi-year commitment with FedEx, introduced Chipotle as an investor partner, piloted delivery with Domino’s in Houston and with 7-Eleven in Mountain View.
Nuro and longtime partner and investor Kroger formalized a commitment to use the third-generation vehicle.
“As America’s largest grocer, Kroger formed a strategic collaboration with Nuro in 2018,” said Yael Cosset, senior vice president and chief information officer at Kroger. “We continue to invest in the company as a testament to its industry-leading technology and our commitment to innovation.”
“The third-generation vehicle launch is the latest expansion of this collaboration,” he said. “We expect the rollout will continue to delight customers looking for the freshest groceries, providing them with the convenience and value they expect from Kroger.”
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