Nuro to Launch Autonomous Goods Delivering Vehicle Later This Year

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【Summary】Silicon Valley startup is already working on autonomous vehicles which have been designed to transport goods. Nuro, the Mountain View, California-based company has designed R1 to offer courier and delivery services for local shops and online retail portals.

Manish Kharinta    Jul 08, 2018 5:22 PM PT
Nuro to Launch Autonomous Goods Delivering Vehicle Later This Year

Recently, Ford Motor Co revealed its plans for developing specially designed hybrid and electric transit vans. The vans will come with autonomous driving capabilities and will work in fleets to transport goods as an alternative to the conventional freight services. 

Ford stated that these models will go into production by the year 2021 and will be capable of running nonstop without a hitch for periods stretching over 20 hours. Like Ford, a Silicon Valley startup is working on autonomous vehicles designed to transport goods. 

Nuro, a Mountain View, California-based company has designed these vehicles to offer courier and delivery services for local shops and online retail portals. The tech company claims that its mission is to advance the benefits of Robotics by incorporating it into our lives to take on everyday tasks. Nuro's first initiative is to develop self-driving vehicles capable of transporting goods locally. 

Last week, Nuro announced that it intends on launching its first-ever self-driving electric powered vehicle R1, later this year.

The company also said that it is in talks with potential partners. Nuro is led by founder Dave Ferguson, along with self-driving car engineer, Jiajun Zhu. Both Ferguson and Zhu have previously worked on the Google self-driving car project. 

When explaining the market for self-driving delivery vehicles, Ferguson said that retail industry is becoming time sensitive. Today the customers have busy schedules and demand more convenient and easy retail solutions. 

As retailers struggle to manage these customer demands it becomes necessary that they adopt unconventional means of transporting goods as soon as possible. Ferguson further added that the R-1 autonomous vehicle has been designed to be flexible to meet such demands.

The company comprises of veterans from Apple, Tesla, Carnegie Mellon University, General Motors and Uber who have extensively worked in the field of robotics, earlier. Ferguson has so far refrained from disclosing the size of the company but confirmed that the company has partnered up with Banyan Capital and Greylock Partners and has raised $92 million in funding.

The company has said that because of regulations that govern the operation of commercial vehicles, the first fleet will be introduced in a city which allows this technology to be tested. The company aims to offer a cost-effective solution to the retailers that avail Nuro's delivery service. 

The cost-cutting has been carried out by eliminating the need for a driver who delivers the goods in person. This also means that R1 would require customers to be physically present at the location of delivery to pick up the packages personally. 

The company says that it feels confident about R1 being the future of delivery service as roads, which is the infrastructure required by its offering, already exists. Like other autonomous offerings, R1 also uses cameras, radar, and LiDARs to facilitate its autonomous capabilities. The vehicle features package only cargo space and can transport up to 20 grocery bags at a time. The users will get individual codes which they can use with the help of their smartphones to open and retrieve their packages.

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