Customers in California and Texas may soon be able to have their food delivered by a robot.
Over four years of negotiations have culminated in today's announcement. The plans to use Nuro's vehicles to make deliveries in Houston did not come to fruition. The two companies have a 10-year deal to increase robot deliveries to more customers.
Mountain View, Calif., and Houston, Texas will be the first two cities to see the deployment of self-drive delivery vehicles. They hope to expand the service area to the greater Bay Area in California, but they wouldn't reveal the number of vehicles or the expected number of customers who will take part in the early tests.
Available in Mountain View, California, and Houston, Texas
The R2 vehicle is a different kind of delivery robot. It is about half the width of a compact sedan, but smaller than most cars. It is fully self-sufficient because there is no room for humans inside. It is ideal for residential travel but not allowed to travel on highways. It has space for about 24 grocery bags in its compartment.
The two veterans of the self-driving car project that would go on to become Waymo were the co-owners of Nuro. It is one of the few companies that operate fully self driving vehicles on public roads. It was the first company to be granted a special exemption from federal safety requirements and the first to charge money for its deliveries.
Most of the Silicon Valley and its tech workers would be within its domain but not San Francisco or Oakland because of the permit issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. The company will need to get permission from the Department of Motor Vehicles before it expands.
Nuro is not the only company that works with the ride sharing service. The company is working with two other companies. Motional uses SUVs with two safety drivers in the front, while Serve Robotics uses delivery robots that travel on sidewalks. Customers in the Los Angeles area can order from Serve and Motional.