Nuro’s new autonomous delivery module has an external airbag

The autonomous delivery specialist has just presented the third version of its autonomous pod.

The new electric vehicle comes with more space for customer orders, customizable compartments for different types of goods and an updated suite of navigation cameras, radar, lidar and thermal cameras to equip the nacelle with a view. details of its immediate surroundings.

For the first time, it also features an external airbag to protect distracted walkers and stray cyclists who inadvertently get lost on the way to the gondola. An image (below) released by the California-based company shows the fully inflated airbag, covering the entire front of the driverless pod.

The third versions of Nuro's autonomous delivery vehicle, featuring an external airbag.
Nuro

It is also the first Nuro capsule that can be marketed on a large scale, the company said.

Unlike self-driving cars tested by Waymo and others, Nuro’s bespoke vehicles are designed exclusively to carry cargo, with no space for passengers or even a safety driver. In fact, it doesn’t even have a steering wheel.

Such a design gives Nuro’s vehicle a footprint 20% smaller than the average passenger car, allowing it to occupy the absolute minimum of road space.

Nuro has tested previous versions of its vehicle on public roads in three states and has partnered with Kroger, FedEx, Domino’s and CVS Pharmacy.

Some customers may order from a local business such as a grocery store or pizzeria using the Nuro smartphone app. When the autonomous vehicle carrying the order reaches its destination address, the customer receives an alert on his telephone. They then exit and simply type in a code on the vehicle’s touchscreen to unlock the compartment containing their command.

Along with additional testing in real-life situations, Nuro will also test its new nacelle on a closed test track under construction in Nevada, where it will also manufacture the new nacelle.

Commenting on the new design, Nuro said: “It’s the vehicle we’ll be producing on a large scale to improve the daily lives of millions of people, and we can’t wait for it to hit the road right outside your front door. “

Nuro was co-founded by Dave Ferguson and Jiajun Zhu six years ago, with the two gaining valuable experience from their time with Google’s autonomous car unit (now Waymo) in its infancy.

While the technology and the company’s vision have sparked investment from a range of large companies, including Google and SoftBank, Nuro’s success depends on forging stable partnerships with companies that wish to use its vehicles. for last mile deliveries, as well as with regulators who will have to give the green light to the autonomous nacelle before the platform can be truly deployed.

It must also beat the competition from other grocery delivery services – stand-alone or not – which is no small feat in such a highly competitive market.

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