What Drives Nuro’s Culture

Jiajun Zhu
Aug 14, 2019 · 5 min read

Three years ago, my co-founder Dave Ferguson and I started Nuro. We each devoted the early years of our careers to robotics and machine learning, and Nuro was the next step in our journey. We are invested in harnessing the power of robotics and artificial intelligence to help solve challenges on a global scale. We can accelerate the benefit of robotics for everyday life; we’ve been doing it since Nuro began.

We believe that autonomous robots will change the world, and here at Nuro, we are focused on turning that credo into a reality right now. Our initial focus is specifically on autonomous vehicles that deliver goods, not people. This distinction allows us to deploy our technology in a real service faster than many other companies.

According to numbers published by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Americans make roughly 1.1 billion car trips per day, and nearly 45% of those trips are taken for running errands. At Nuro, we are designing systems and vehicles that can deliver goods directly to consumers, a solution that will take cars off the road and have a huge impact environmentally, socially, and personally. Imagine a future in which items can be delivered for free, on-demand, by autonomous vehicles. What we are building will make everyday tasks easier and more cost effective. It will dramatically improve quality of life and lessen the number of cars on the road. It will change the world.

Since founding the company in 2016, our team of two has grown to over 300 people. We have taken Nuro from a concept to one of the best funded independent robotics companies. We forged a partnership with Kroger to deliver groceries for the largest grocery chain in the world, we will soon be launching our partnership with Domino’s to deliver pizza for the nation’s largest hot food delivery company, and we have exciting new partnerships to announce in the coming months.

Nuro’s Mountain View, California Team

When America was preparing to go to the moon, President Kennedy delivered a speech that said, in essence, we choose to go to the moon not because it is easy, but because it is hard. That same philosophy drove humankind to create the internet, electricity, and the invention of flight — none of these endeavors were pursued because they were easy. They were pursued because they were hard, because they were worthy. Autonomous robots are the current technological challenge of our generation, and the advances we are making at Nuro are the work we will tell our grandchildren about. We are building a legacy. We are creating the future — not because it is easy, but because it is hard.

Even more critical than the technology we are building, are the people at Nuro who are designing these systems. We seek team members who are the top of their field, humble in how they work, nimble in how they adapt ideas, ambitious in their endeavors, and collaborative in the pursuit of our mission.

Below are the tenets of our culture that we use to guide our work and behavior as we build the robotics and artificial intelligence systems of the future.

The R1 vehicle completing deliveries in Scottsdale, AZ

We tackle the impossible.

We are trying to do something that has never been done before. We are working to solve a problem that so far has no solution. Some might call this impossible, but odds are that people also told Thomas Edison that the phonograph was impossible, the incandescent light bulb and the carbon microphone too. We are building today’s impossible technology so that future generations consider autonomous robots just another part of daily life.

Nuro R1 vehicles

We do the right thing.

We are dedicated to doing what is right. Our diverse team is made up of brilliant minds from all over the world, all coming together to achieve a shared goal. Our technology will be a part of daily life, driving on the streets where our children play, our pets walk, and where we live. All of this is to say that we have to make sure that what we are doing is right and safe, not just the easiest path. We put long-term interests ahead of short-term convenience, and we are dedicated to building this one product better than anyone else. We believe that by being transparent and working together, we will build the greatest technology in the world.

Nuro Engineers sharing their work

We have a high bar.

At Nuro, we demand excellence. In striving to create the future, we need the very best people doing their very best work. The team we have built is made up of the smartest minds in academia and industry, and we are seeking only the best to add to our ranks. We have a high bar because we need to have a high bar; changing the world isn’t easy.

We take ownership.

Every day we face difficult challenges and make decisions in the best interest of Nuro — success for the company means success for us all, and that ethos drives our every day. Our team members are the owners of the Nuro mission and vision. This inspires a culture of proactive problem solving, creative solution seeking, and readiness and willingness to step outside of the lanes of our typical roles when Nuro needs us elsewhere. We take ownership for our company, and we work together.

At Nuro, we care deeply about the work we are doing and the future we are pushing toward. If this sounds like a mission you want to be a part of, take a look at our careers page, follow us @nurobots, and get in touch.

The Nuro Office is modern, dog-friendly and designed for collaboration

Nuro

On a mission to better everyday life through robotics.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

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