SILIVER SPRING, Md. (AP) – Electric vehicle maker Nuro said on Tuesday it has secured $ 600 million in funding from Google, Kroger and others to further develop its autonomous delivery vehicle service.

The Silicon Valley robotics company has already made thousands of grocery deliveries with Kroger as part of a partnership in 2018.

“The demand for local deliveries is exploding,” said Griffin Schroeder, partner at Tiger Global, who led the new round of funding. “Nuro is the bridge to an era of autonomous, sustainable and low-cost local delivery.”

Nuro also signed a five-year strategic partnership with Google Cloud to support the continued development of autonomous zero-occupant delivery vehicles and said he would explore opportunities with the tech giant to “strengthen and transform local commerce.” .

Nuro recently announced a partnership with FedEx and piloted pizza delivery with Domino’s in Houston.

In August, Nuro said it had invested $ 40 million in a manufacturing plant and closed-circuit test track, both located in southern Nevada.

Last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration granted Nuro temporary approval to operate its low-speed autonomous delivery vehicles which were designed without accommodation for human drivers. The delivery vehicles, dubbed “R2”, are equipped with laser, camera and radar sensors, but do not have side and rear mirrors, wipers, steering wheels or brake pedals.

The battery-powered vehicles, measuring 3.6 feet wide and about 9 feet long (1.1 meters wide and 2.7 meters long), are significantly shorter and thinner than a Mini Cooper, but more one foot higher. They are allowed to travel up to 25 miles per hour and can be remotely monitored and controlled by a human operator, if required.

Nuro has piloted autonomous local delivery in Texas, Arizona and California.

Many companies have stepped up efforts to get their products to consumers faster and without human contact in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, which has prevented people from doing basic groceries like shopping for groceries or picking up food. food orders in restaurants.


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