Tuesday, January 18, 2022

California is getting its first real autonomous delivery service thanks to Nuro and 7-Eleven

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Nuro, a pacesetter in autonomous delivery autos, is kicking off a brand new service in California in partnership with 7-Eleven. The firm will ship comfort retailer merchandise to prospects in its autonomous Toyota Prius autos, which can embody a security driver behind the wheel, earlier than finally shifting over to its totally driverless R2 delivery autos.

The service will solely be out there to residents who reside in proximity to the 7-Eleven retailer at 1905 Latham Street in Mountain View, from 8AM–9PM, seven days per week. Customers can order gadgets like pizza, chips, drinks, and home items by 7-Eleven’s “7NOW” delivery app, though age-restricted gadgets, like alcohol and cigarettes, received’t be out there.

Orders can be delivered in half-hour or much less, and prospects may have to depart their dwelling to retrieve the gadgets from the delivery car whereas it’s parked on the road. (The Nuro security driver is not going to carry the gadgets to the door, as the corporate is aiming to simulate a very human-free delivery course of.)

Nuro wouldn’t disclose the variety of autos it can deploy as a part of this early model of its service, nor would it not say how quickly it plans to shift deliveries to its R2 robots. “Nuro and 7-Eleven will make the joint decision to introduce R2 into the delivery fleet as soon as possible,” a spokesperson stated.

Nuro, which is valued at $5 billion, was based in 2016 by Dave Ferguson and Jiajun Zhu, two veterans of the Google self-driving automobile challenge that will go on to change into Waymo. Nuro is one of many few US firms to be working totally driverless autos — that is, autos with out security drivers behind the wheel — on public roads in the present day. Its R2 car is about half as huge as a compact sedan, shorter than most automobiles, and there’s no room inside for human passengers or drivers.

The R2 is an up to date model of Nuro’s unique R1 prototype, with round 50 p.c extra capability (which interprets into about 18 extra grocery luggage). The firm plans on producing a third-generation car at its new facility in Nevada as soon as it is totally operational in 2022.

The firm is comparatively unknown in contrast to its rivals within the autonomous car area, largely due to its deal with delivery and not ferrying human passengers in robotaxis. Still, Nuro has made progress on the regulatory entrance, changing into the first firm to obtain a particular exemption from sure federal security necessities and not too long ago getting the inexperienced gentle to cost cash for its deliveries in California.

Nuro autos are already getting used for grocery deliveries, pizza, and deliveries from CVS Pharmacy shops in Houston, Texas. In 2020, Nuro used its autos to transport medical provides round two California stadiums that have been transformed into therapy services for sufferers with COVID-19.

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