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Kroger-owned grocery store begins completely without deliveries

[embedded content] Nuro, a start founded by two veterans from Google's self-driving car project, has reached an important milestone: it has begun to make completely independent food deliveries on public streets. Fry's Food, a brand owned by Food giant Kroger, launched a self-executing food delivery program back in August in collaboration with Nuro. Fry's have used Nuro cars to deliver food to customers near one of their stores on East McDowell Road in Scottsdale, Arizona. These deliveries were originally made by Toyota Priuses, which Nuro had equipped with its sensors and software. There were also security drivers behind the wheel. Nuro says it has made 1 ,000 deliveries with these vehicles since August. Now Nuro is making a run for completely runaway operation with R1, a new vehicle specially built for autonomous deliveries. This new vehicle is significantly smaller and lighter than a regular passenger car and does not even accommodate a human driver on board. Nuro says it will now deliver with a combination of Priuses and R1. Nuro is not the first company to offer autonomous delivery services. Competitors like Marble and Starship have long offered autonomous deliveries. But these startups have built robots designed to work on sidewalks, which means that they mostly move at walking speeds. On the other hand, Nuro vehicles are designed to operate on public streets. They can move up to 25 miles per hour, so they can cover a larger area and get goods to customers faster. Nuro launches provide an interesting…

Nuro, a start founded by two veterans from Google’s self-driving car project, has reached an important milestone: it has begun to make completely independent food deliveries on public streets.

Fry’s Food, a brand owned by Food giant Kroger, launched a self-executing food delivery program back in August in collaboration with Nuro. Fry’s have used Nuro cars to deliver food to customers near one of their stores on East McDowell Road in Scottsdale, Arizona.

These deliveries were originally made by Toyota Priuses, which Nuro had equipped with its sensors and software. There were also security drivers behind the wheel. Nuro says it has made 1

,000 deliveries with these vehicles since August.

Now Nuro is making a run for completely runaway operation with R1, a new vehicle specially built for autonomous deliveries. This new vehicle is significantly smaller and lighter than a regular passenger car and does not even accommodate a human driver on board. Nuro says it will now deliver with a combination of Priuses and R1.

Nuro is not the first company to offer autonomous delivery services. Competitors like Marble and Starship have long offered autonomous deliveries. But these startups have built robots designed to work on sidewalks, which means that they mostly move at walking speeds. On the other hand, Nuro vehicles are designed to operate on public streets. They can move up to 25 miles per hour, so they can cover a larger area and get goods to customers faster.

Nuro launches provide an interesting contrast to Waymo, which was scheduled to launch a commercial self-service in Chandler just a few miles south of Nuro’s first business area in the Phoenix area. The Waymo launch was disappointing. Waymo not only canceled plans to make the service completely safe, it also limited the service to people already in Waymo’s existing “rider” program.

An important difference here seems to be that the Nuro launch plan was much less ambitious than the Waymo century. Waymo tries to build a general purpose taxi that can handle all types of roads in a service area that initially nearly 100 square kilometers.

Nuro cars, on the other hand, are designed to stay below 25 miles per hour, and initially only drive within a few miles of a single Scottsdale supermarket. Low speeds mean short stops, which reduces safety issues. The low weight of the car also increases safety because it is less likely to cause serious damage during a crash. And because the company only transports food, not people, it does not have to worry about the safety of vehicle owners at all.

In short, thanks to Nuro, a much easier problem than Waymo, so it can take full driver solution to the market faster. If all goes well, Nuro can show security for its completely powerless technology and expand to other places and gain valuable experience along the way.

Over the next few years, Nuro collects enough data to show an excellent security record, Nuro should gradually increase the speed and supply of its services. One day, it could use the same technology stack to offer passenger-focused services – maybe eventually compete with Uber and Lyft, as Waymo is trying to do now. And it could do all this without losing the huge costs that Waymo met because it ran 10 million miles with security drivers behind the wheel.

Second start-up strives for similar incremental strategies, but focuses on transporting passengers instead of goods. Startups like Voyage, May Mobility, Drive.ai and Optimus Ride build low-speed transport or taxi services in limited geographic areas. None of these projects are as ambitious as Waymo, but just because they are less ambitious, they have managed to market real commercial services. Most of them still have security drivers behind the wheel, but the decision to initially focus on low-speed domains can enable them to hurry safety drivers faster than competitors trying to provide a general taxi service just outside the bat.

Art Source of Nuro

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Faela