Nuro – the self-driving delivery vehicles

Have you heard about autonomous delivery vehicles?

by Precious Cyprain
4 mins read
Nuro autonomous vehicle

Nuro is a private robotics company that develops self-driving delivery vehicles. Nuro was founded in 2016 by Dave Ferguson and Jiajun Zhu and is based in Mountain View, California, USA. Their focus is using autonomous vehicles to transport and deliver goods of all kinds safely, efficiently and conveniently.  

Nuro was granted an autonomous exemption by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to use public roads, and it was also the first company to receive this exemption. These independent, all-electric, zero-occupant and zero-emission vehicles deliver various kinds of goods, with a mission to reduce vehicle emissions, enhance the safety of roads and reduce traffic congestion.  

Nuro has made its autonomous vehicles reliable and cost-effective with a compact design for convenient package delivery. Their autonomous delivery vehicles will change the delivery world for the better and improve the delivery experience for all due to their contactless delivery. It provides a healthier and safer environment as it runs on electricity thereby causing no gas emission and decreasing pollution.  

Highly developed sensors, cameras, LIDAR, radar and software are integrated into self-driving vehicles to enable them to decipher their surroundings and objects around them, and also autonomously carry out real-time driving decisions. The data gotten from the installed hardware is gathered and analysed using Artificial Intelligence (AI), thereby making real-time decisions. 

They are able to navigate through traffic, recognize and interact with pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, and also obey traffic rules and regulations. Nuro designed autonomous vehicles to operate in different weather conditions, complex traffic situations and road conditions. Exhaustive tests have also been undergone to ensure they are safe to deliver packages on time and in good condition. 

Nuro has seven brands that are trusted partners including Domino’s, FedEx, Uber, Walmart, Kroger, Chipotle and 7-Eleven. They are approved in two states, California and Texas, for autonomous operations on public roads.  

Some technological advantages of Nuro’s autonomous delivery vehicles

  1. Deliberate small size: The autonomous delivery vehicles are made small and narrow to enable passive and dynamic safety while on the road. Pedestrian fatalities are reduced by putting safety innovations on the outside of the vehicle since it only carries goods, thereby protecting pedestrians outside of the vehicle. 
  2. Integrated intelligence: The vehicles are made with custom components to improve their performance. Smart decisions are implemented in manufacturing to limit restrictions from other vehicles on the road and create a perfect platform for delivering goods.  
  3. Smart autonomy installation: The vehicles get a good representation of the road through the installation of lidar, radar, HD map, thermal and 360° cameras. Both the built and the machine-learned components are combined for scalability with the help of the autonomous vehicle software stack.  

Meet Nuro’s fleet 

Nuro is known to have multiple vehicles on the road at a time performing different roles and functions. These vehicles contribute in one way or the other to scale the brand among nationally recognized ones. 

R1 was Nuro’s first vehicle and prototype which displayed a goods-only autonomous delivery. 

R2 is a second-generation vehicle which was introduced after R1 was retired. The cargo capacity in R2 was increased to about 420 lbs and the vehicle was built to withstand more conditions and cover wider distances than the first. This second-generation vehicle is the one that is available on the road today.  

Nuro is the third vehicle which was released in January 2022. The vehicle has not yet been unveiled to the public road for use as it is still under preproduction and trials. It was built to contain more cargo capacity of about 500 lbs. 

It is also designed with a unit that keeps meals and drinks hot and cold respectively during delivery. Nuro is equipped with a safety feature – an exterior airbag – that shields people on the outside since it is a zero-occupant vehicle.

Nuro self driving fleet

P1 (first generation) and P2 are Nuro’s Prius fleet. They have the exact sensor and software as in R2 and Nuro respectively. The most notable feature of these Prius vehicles is their ability to accommodate safety drivers who test-run new autonomy software versions. This feature is unlike Nuro and R2 which has no room for drivers or passengers. 

The Prius fleet with a safety driver maps out neighbourhoods to enable testing vehicles with real-world data.


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