FedEx and Nuro collaborate to test AI-based delivery vehicles. The companies said they have been testing autonomous delivery vehicles since April in Houston. Nuro R2 is the vehicle that delivers packages as part of a multi-year multi-stage contract to pilot autonomous last-mile deliveries.
A Nuro spokesperson said this partnership aims to reduce human interference in costly and complicated deliveries. Nuro, in the past, has also partnered with Domino’s for autonomous pizza delivery in Houston.
Though none of the companies said the number of vehicles they have been testing, the two companies said that they have tested and deployed Nuro’s vehicles together. This collaboration will help FedEx and Nuro to consider a vast array of used cases such as multi-stop and booking-based deliveries.
In the later phase of this collaboration, Nuro will give FedEx access to Nuro’s next-gen self-driving car, which will result in the massive rollout of Nuro Bots in different markets. The first version of Nuro’s delivery vehicle named R1 started shipping in Scottsdale, Arizona, in 2018.
Rebecca Yong, VP of Advanced Technology and Innovation at FedEx, said, “FedEx is built on innovation and remains an integral part of our culture and business strategy. We are excited to work with industry leaders like Nuro as we continue to explore the use of autonomous technology within our business.”
The new R2 version comes with many new features like temperature control, increased cargo space, and a longer range. In November 2020, after its Series C funding round, Nuro’s total funding exceeded US$1 billion since its establishment in 2016. The financing round was led by T. Rowe Price Associates, which also included new investors like Baillie Gifford Fidelity Management & Research along with existing investors like Greylock and SoftBank. This partnership with Nuro is not FedEx’s debut in this field of autonomous delivery. In 2019, FedEx launched its FedEx Sameday bot concept for door-to-door delivery.