Nuro has put its driverless pod to work delivering anything from pizzas to prescriptions. Soon, its efforts will expand in a big way, thanks in part to a major player in logistics.
Nuro announced on Tuesday that it has entered into a partnership with FedEx that will see Nuro's autonomous delivery vehicle put to use in last-mile operations. A pilot program launched in the Houston area in April, but it's unclear at the moment when other markets will get in on the action.
"This multi-year commitment will allow us to truly collaborate and bring Nuro's powerful technology to more people in new ways, and eventually reach large-scale deployment," said Cosimo Leipold, Nuro's head of partnerships, in a press release. "Our collaboration will enable innovative, industry-first product offerings that will better everyday life and help make communities safer and greener."
Last-mile operations are, well, pretty much what they sound like. This covers the final stretch of the delivery process, from warehouse to regular house. While details on the partnership remain scant, Nuro said in a blog post that it hopes its driverless pod will be "taking on inefficient deliveries, finding new ways to move parcels, and adding new capacity to support rapidly growing demand."
This is a pretty major step for Nuro, which has been developing its vehicle over the last five years. It already has several partnerships under its belt with companies likeand , but FedEx takes it to a completely different level. FedEx handles approximately 18 million packages a day and has a fleet of some 200,000 vehicles.
A little over a year ago, Nuroto operate its driverless pod on public roads, despite the lack of redundant controls for a human to operate, which makes sense, as the small vehicle was designed entirely for delivering goods, not people, from Point A to Point B. This past December, the California Department of Motor Vehicles , allowing the company to charge for its services in specific parts of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.