Image for post
Image for post

Earlier this year, our self-driving delivery robot R2 became the first autonomous vehicle to receive an approved exemption from the US Department of Transportation. R2 then became the second autonomous vehicle to receive a driverless testing permit in California. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we set up contactless delivery services with R2 at temporary care facilities in California to carry food, water, and medical supplies to patients and doctors with the goal of decreasing points of contagion.

Today, we’re excited to announce another first for Nuro. For the past few months, R2 has been testing on city streets fully autonomously in three different states. No drivers. No occupants. …

New report shows economic, social, and environmental impacts of self-driving delivery services at scale.

When we started Nuro 4 years ago, we anticipated that self-driving delivery would give us back time, improve road safety, and even provide affordable access to fresh food for people living in food deserts. But there is another deeply important set of questions for society. How might our type of service, as it scales across the United States, impact jobs and the economy, the environment, and our daily lives?

We asked the transportation specialists at Steer to produce the first-ever independent economic impact study that specifically evaluated self-driving delivery services. Steer consulted experts, reviewed past reports, and researched the specific impacts that self-driving local delivery will have on everyday Americans. …

George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Arbery. Christian Cooper. Behind those names are millions of people across America who suffer everyday indignities and insults, large and small, for no reason other than the color of their skin.

We wish to take a solemn moment to honor our fellow Black Americans here at Nuro and throughout the United States. You have the right to start each new day with hope for peace and tranquility. You have the right to equal justice, quality education, fulfilling work, fair housing, access to dignified healthcare, and protection and service from police. …

The last few months have caused us all to revisit how we plan our days, make our livings, stock our kitchens, educate our children, and get the items we need.

How we acquire essential goods like toilet paper, cough medicine, soap, and food has taken on greater significance. At the same time, with nearly one in every two Americans, there’s a critical part of the daily routine that hasn’t changed: needing prescription medication.

That’s why today, we’re proud to announce that Nuro has joined forces with one of the nation’s most respected names in healthcare: CVS Pharmacy. Starting in June, this first-of-its-kind partnership brings Nuro into the health space — our third delivery vertical — as we utilize our fleet of autonomous vehicles to deliver prescriptions and essentials across three zip codes in Houston, Texas. …

By: Aidan Ali-Sullivan
Regional Lead of Public Policy and Government Relations

Today marks an exciting moment for the future of local commerce in California. The Department of Motor Vehicles has implemented regulations allowing self-driving vehicles designed and operated for goods delivery to operate under the same robust permitting requirements applicable to other types of autonomous vehicles. We applaud the DMV for completing this regulatory update and unlocking a valuable new service that promises to reduce the number of shopping errands made by Californians every year for groceries, hot food, and other local products.

This change creates certainty for companies like Nuro to advance our AV technology by mapping, testing, and deploying our delivery service right here in our home state of California. It will allow us to build closer and deeper relationships with our retail partners, and will develop our connection with the communities we serve. The revised regulation will, for the first time, enable autonomous vehicles designed solely to carry goods and not passengers to operate in California. By removing passengers from the vehicle entirely, we can reduce the number of people on the road, offering greater protection from potential collisions or incidents. …

Today, Nuro and one of the world’s most recognizable and beloved brands join forces. Welcome, Walmart — a new partnership that will bring Nuro’s delivery platform to Walmart customers in Houston, TX.

Image for post
Image for post
Nuro R1 loaded with Walmart bags for delivery

The way we see it, Walmart has built a decades-long legacy of innovation and disruption, based in a modern reinvention of the supply chain. By the 1990s, Walmart had created supercenters in areas of the country that the big box retail world historically thought impossible. “Everyday low prices” became a mainstay strategy; and the rest, as they say, is history.

Today, Walmart, moves products to 200 million customers across more than 11,000 stores worldwide. Our team at Nuro feels honored to act as an extension of this modern supply chain, partnering with the world’s largest company by revenue and largest private employer. Together, we are delivering orders from select Houston Walmart stores right to local customers’ homes — in our neighborhood-friendly, self-driving electric vehicles. …

Today we’re thrilled to announce that we’ve partnered with Domino’s, the world’s largest pizza company, to deliver pizza autonomously. Nuro’s self-driving delivery service first launched in 2018 through our partnership with Kroger, the nation’s largest grocer. Partnering with Domino’s marks an important step on our journey to become the autonomous delivery partner of choice for retailers of all kinds.

Domino’s is the global leader in pizza delivery, selling 3 million pizzas per day from over 16,000 stores worldwide. At Nuro, we’re leading the way in driverless deliveries, focused on moving goods from stores to neighborhoods quickly, affordably, and safely. …

Image for post
Image for post

Jen Dawson is Head of Safety here at Nuro. She built her career in mechanical engineering and spent years working on robotics projects designed to upgrade and repair spacecraft on-orbit. Today, she works to ensure our products and operations are as safe as possible — and there’s a lot that goes into it.

Preparing for the unexpected

Creating the first fully autonomous vehicle to transport goods on public roads has many considerations. Perhaps the biggest (and most complex) is analyzing all the things that could possibly go wrong, and finding ways to prevent them before they happen.

When I worked at SSL (formerly Space Systems/Loral), my title was Technical Director, but my role, in a nutshell, was just to “make it work.” That meant I was in charge of ensuring that satellites — those used by everyone from NASA to Dish to SiriusXM — were designed with sufficient performance and built-in redundancy to operate safely and correctly, despite any potential failures or mission anomalies. At Nuro, my team has a similar task: designing self-driving vehicles that are safe, even in the face of unexpected driving events, actions by others on the roads, or complications with the vehicle itself. …

Image for post
Image for post

Nuro just won a Spark: Design Award in the Transportation category for our unmanned custom vehicle, the R1. We sat down with Ben Julian, one of our designers, to learn what it takes to bring an entirely new class of vehicle to life, the R1’s design inspirations, and Formula One drivers.

What does industrial design mean at Nuro?

Industrial design encompasses all hardware that people (customers, end users, retailers) see and experience in their real world, how everything looks, feels, and functions flawlessly. I call this our “A-side” surface: the final skin of our product that people respond to that also conveys Nuro’s DNA. …

Image for post
Image for post

It’s been a busy year for Nuro. We publicly unveiled the company, revealed our first product, announced our first partner, and began our first self-driving goods transportation service in our first market — Scottsdale, Arizona.

This pace is motivated by a promise we made at Nuro’s inception: we want to transform local commerce, and do so in a way that makes the people we serve even safer. Before we kicked off the pilot in Scottsdale, we met with state and local leaders, a variety of regulatory agencies, local law enforcement and first responders, and community groups, to build a safe service that meets customer needs and meets all applicable regulations. We outlined our safety vision in a report entitled Delivering Safety: Nuro’s Approach, which we shared with the Department of Transportation and on our website. …

Nuro Team

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store