Nuro, a relative newcomer but already a leader in the space, just unveiled its third-generation zero-occupant autonomous delivery vehicle. Designed with delivery in mind, the new Nuro can carry more goods and enable more deliveries, with twice the cargo volume of the company’s current 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 and safety enhancements to further improve safety for pedestrians outside the vehicle.
The delivery robot wars continue to heat up as the pandemic roils on under a fresh wave of cases. For technology developers, that means a new generation of robotic platforms built to capitalize on the growing recognition among major brands that autonomous delivery can increase efficiency and scale as more people dine at home more often.
Nuro’s announcement follows a $600 million Series D funding round closed in Q4 2021 and the AV leader’s long list of strategic partnerships with notable quick service and convenience brands. Notably, Nuro also formalized a commitment to leveraging the company’s third-generation vehicle with a long-standing partner and investor Kroger.
“Five years ago, we set out to build an autonomous vehicle and delivery service designed to run errands, giving people back valuable time. 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,” said Dave Ferguson, Nuro co-founder and president. “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.”
The new model will be produced in a supplier partnership with BYD North America and completed at Nuro’s new $40 million end-of-line manufacturing facility and world-class 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 North America — part of one of the largest OEM networks of electric vehicles in the world — will assemble globally sourced hardware components for the vehicle platforms; Nuro will complete the final steps of manufacturing and make the autonomous vehicles ready for deployment.