Uber taps self-driving startup Nuro for autonomous food and grocery deliveries
Nuro, a Softbank-backed self-driving tech startup and the developer of street-legal autonomous electric delivery vehicles, has struck a long-term deal with Uber to test food delivery via unmanned vehicles in some U.S. locations.
As part of the 10-year partnership, Nuro will use its toaster-shaped micro-vans to haul food orders and groceries to customers in Silicon Valley and Houston using the Uber Eats service. Last-mile autonomous delivery has become popular in recent years as food companies look for ways to quickly deliver food to consumers who order meals online from the comfort of their homes.
According to the announcement, the autonomous food delivery tests with Nuro will begin this fall in Houston, Texas, and Mountain View, California the company plans to expand the service to the greater Bay Area. As part of the trial, Uber Eats customers will also be able to choose autonomous delivery as an option when ordering food and groceries.
Uber, whose goal is to have only electric vehicles on its platform in the United States, Canada, and Europe by 2030, partnered with Serve Robotics in November 2021 to automate the last-mile delivery for Uber Eats customers living in Los Angeles early this year. Now, the time has arrived.
Co-founded in 2016 by two former engineers of Google’s self-driving car project, Dave Ferguson and Jiajun Zhu, Nuro aims to accelerate the benefits of robotics for everyday life. Nuro’s team is comprised of entrepreneurs and engineers, designers, and scientists who believe the advancements they are making in robotics and machine learning today will dramatically improve the way they live tomorrow.
In April, Nuro inked a partnership with Domino’s Pizza to offer some of its Houston customers the option to choose to have their pizza delivered by the Nuro R-2 robot, a completely autonomous on-road vehicle. Instead of a delivery driver knocking at your door with your order, the robot will drive the order to the address and customers will receive a pin to retrieve their order when it has arrived. Nuro has also partnered with other companies including Chipotle. In 2018, we covered Nuro after the startup partnered with Kroger for same-day grocery delivery.
“Customers who are selected will receive text alerts, which will update them on R2’s location and provide them with a unique PIN to retrieve their order. Customers may also track the vehicle via GPS on their order confirmation page. Once R2 arrives, customers will be prompted to enter their PIN on the bot’s touchscreen. R2’s doors will then gently open upward, revealing the customer’s hot Domino’s order,” Domino’s explained.
Nuro is a robotics company that combines software and hardware expertise to design and build products that accelerate the benefits of robotics for everyday life. Nuro’s first product is a self-driving service for local goods transportation. The company is led by world-renowned experts in robotics, artificial intelligence, and computer vision. Privately held, Nuro powers partnerships with local businesses seeking new ways to cost-effectively transport goods and create new experiences for their customers.
Nuro is making local delivery fast and affordable with its self-driving service. The service uses Nuro’s custom unmanned road vehicle to run errands of all kinds – from picking up groceries to delivering dinner. Nuro strives to create a world where everything can be delivered affordably and on-demand.