Nuro already has a third driverless delivery vehicle on the way, and this model is focused as much on protecting others as it is hauling goods. The newly introduced version, simply called Nuro, includes a host of 360-degree sensors including cameras, LiDAR, radar and thermals, but also includes a giant external airbag to protect pedestrians. We still wouldn’t risk stepping in front of this machine (you’ll still hit the ground, after all), but this should reduce the chances of a serious injury.
The new vehicle also carries twice the cargo, and offers both temperature-controlled compartments and modular inserts to help shuttle a wider variety of goods. Nuro didn’t say when this latest self-driving vehicle would be ready, but the North American branch of China’s BYD will help produce units at a Nuro factory due to go online later in 2022. Kroger (an investor in Nuro) has already committed to using this latest hardware.
The upgrade might be necessary. Nuro already has deals and tests with major brands like 7-Eleven, CVS, FedEx and Kroger, but it’s facing stiffer competition from Walmart, Uber and automakers like Ford. The firm risks losing business if would-be customers either need larger payloads or are worried about liability in the event of a collision.