A future segment in automated vehicles is robotized deliveries. Two former Google engineers have started Nuro and launched a autonomous vehicle – high like an SUV, but narrower than a car -that will deliver whatever you need around the clock.
Many players are now racing to secure their market share of self-propelled cars. But the autonomous technology will not only be used to transport people – robotized deliveries are a growing sector, where there is still plenty of room for startups to profit on.
The shipment of goods is increasing all over the world, better logistics, boats, flights, electric trucks are needed, but the last kilometers from the merchant to the customer could become fully automatic in the near future when automated vehicles become cheaper and reliable. Now, an automated SUV-like vehicle is launched by a startup California based company.
The company ‘Nuro’ was started by Dave Ferguson and Jiajun Zhu, two former Google engineers who worked at the tech giant’s department for self-propelled vehicles. Their self-driving vehicle (SDV) has recently received an investment of $92 million.
The prototype, called R1, has been tested on private roads. At about the same height as a regular SUV but much more narrow than a regular car, about half the width of a passenger car. Each side has two storage compartments that can be tailored to fit everything from groceries to hot pizzas.
“We started Nuro to make products that will have a massive impact on the things we do every day,”
““Our world-class software, hardware, and product teams have spent the past 18 months applying their expertise to deliver on this mission. The result is a self-driving vehicle designed to run your errands for you. It is poised to change the way that businesses interact with their local customers.”
– Nuro Co-founder Dave Ferguson to IEEE Spectrum.
Nuro is designed specifically to move goods between and among businesses, neighborhoods, and homes. The fully autonomous vehicle is built with ultra-light materials and designed for neighborhoods. These combined design elements will make it one of the safest vehicles on the road.
Among other things, the two founders have succeeded in attracting knowledgeable people from Waymo, Uber, Tesla, Stanford, and MIT. Nuro’s prototype vehicle is of course electric, and the vehicle weight equals about one-third of a standard car.
Among its sensors are cameras, radar, and lidar – which seems to be the Velodyne LiDAR’s “ULTRA Puck. The founders do not intend for it to drive on highways, however, at least not initially.
The vehicle currently has no system for communicating with pedestrians or other road users, but according to Nuro, their vehicles should be able to drive itself into a tree or a parked car to avoid hitting pedestrians.