Start of self-driving delivery Nuro announced a partnership today to deliver customers recipes and other important things. The pilot, which will be limited to the Houston metropolitan area from June, will serve people with three postcodes near the CVS location on Bissonnet St. in Bellaire, according to Nuro.
Users of CVS.com and CVS apps for mobile devices that can be reached by car receive a free option for autonomous delivery at the checkout. Nuro says that to ensure order security is secure, buyers must confirm their identity when Nuro's vehicles arrive at their home.
The introduction of autonomous deliveries in the United States increased during the pandemic. Companies such as Cruise, Pony.ai, Starship Technologies and the Hyundai-Aptiv joint venture for autonomous driving use vehicles to deliver goods to frontline workers, e-commerce buyers and the needy. In April, the Mayo Clinic Florida office began shipping COVID-19 tests with Navya shuttles from a test site to a processing laboratory on the hospital campus. Elsewhere, the autonomous robots from KiwiBot provide residents of Berkeley, Denver and other large metropolitan areas with masks, hygiene articles, antibacterial gels and hygiene products.
While some of the self-driving cars, rovers, and vans are monitored by security drivers behind the wheel, they may still be at less risk of infection than traditional delivery vehicles. This is because in many cases the deliveries are contactless and customers themselves call up orders from the vehicles. The vehicles are also disinfected regularly. Postmates, whose delivery robot Serve currently serves thousands of customers in downtown Los Angeles, West Hollywood and San Francisco, is wiped with disinfectants all day, VentureBeat said earlier.
Nuro's pilot with CVS will not affect the recently launched R2 vehicle, which received approval from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) earlier this year, at a speed of more than 40 km / h without passenger car equipment to drive. Instead, Nuro will initially use Toyota Priuses, which are retrofitted with a computer and sensors – including radar, cameras, and lidar – that will later be replaced by a small R2 fleet.
The CVS partnership comes into existence after Nuro has received approval from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to test driverless delivery vehicles on public roads in part of the San Francisco Bay Area. While the company already has the authority of the US state of California to test autonomous vehicles on the road with safety drivers, this new approval from DMV enables the startup to drive two light delivery vehicles without drivers in nine cities in Santa Clara and San Mateo test counties.
Nuro was co-founded in 2016 by Dave Ferguson and Jiajun Zhu, both veterans of Google's secret self-driving car project, which eventually turned out to be Waymo. Nuro, based in Mountain View, California, employs approximately 400 people and 100 contract workers and has used over 75 delivery vehicles to date – a mix of self-driving Priuses and R2s.
For almost a year now, Nuro's Prius vehicle fleet in Houston has been delivering to consumers from various partners, including Kroger. In June 2019, the company signed a contract with Domino to enable autonomous pizza delivery to parts of the city. And last month, Nuro started using a small number of R2 vehicles transport medical care around the event center in San Mateo and the Sleep Train Arena for people with COVID-19.
In April, CVS, together with UPS Flight Forward, launched a drone delivery service for private households in an age community in Florida. UPS and CVS announced plans to investigate the use of drone delivery last year, and in November 2019 they completed their first supply of prescriptions from a pharmacy in Cary, North Carolina.