After signing a 10-year agreement with automated driving startup Nuro, Uber Eats consumers in Texas and California may soon have their food delivered by driverless delivery pods.
The news resulted from nearly four years of discussions between the two corporations. In 2019, Uber intended to employ Nuro's trucks to do deliveries in Houston; however, those plans never materialized. Now, the two corporations have reached a decade-long agreement to increase robot delivery to an unprecedented number of clients.
When Is The Grand Launch?
Uber and Nuro will launch autonomous delivery cars in Mountain View, California, and Houston, Texas, beginning this autumn. Neither business disclosed the number of cars nor the anticipated number of consumers participating in these early testing. Still, both said they want to extend service to the wider San Francisco Bay Area in California.
Nuro’s High-Quality Robots
The R2 vehicle from Nuro's second generation is not a standard delivery robot built exclusively for sidewalk driving. It is much wider than a small sedan yet shorter than most automobiles. And there is no space inside for human passengers or drivers, making it driverless. It has a peak speed of 45 mph, which makes it suitable for local travel but prohibits its use on highways. It could carry around 500 pounds and has the capacity for about 24 supermarket bags.
Nuro, now valued at $8.6 billion, was formed in 2016 by Dave Ferguson and Jiajun Zhu, both veterans of the Google self-driving vehicle project that became Waymo. It is one of the few businesses running completely driverless cars on public highways, that is, vehicles without safety drivers behind the wheel. It was the first firm to gain an exemption from some federal safety rules and the first in California to charge for autonomous deliveries.
The permit, given by the California DMV, only authorises the corporation to operate its delivery service in portions of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, which would include the majority of Silicon Valley and its tech employees but not San Francisco and Oakland. Therefore, the firm must seek additional DMV authorisation before extending its service region.
Uber Brings In More Players
Uber partners with autonomous delivery companies other than Nuro. The firm collaborates with Serve Robotics and Motional to test robot deliveries. Serve Robotics uses sidewalk-travelling delivery robots, while Motional employs electric Hyundai Ioniq 5 SUVs with two safety drivers in the front seats. The pilots of Serve and Motional with Uber Eats are accessible to clients in the Los Angeles region.
Featured image: Uber Eats
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