Not every self-driving auto has to be able to move passengers from point A to point B. Take, for example, Nuro: The startup just disclosed their unique autonomous vehicle platform, which is more of a mobile small logistics platform than a self-driving car.
The company, which has been working away in stealth mode in Mountain View until now, has raised a $92 million Series A round led by Banyan Capital and Greylock Partners to help make its unique vision of autonomous transport take shape.
Nuro’s vehicle is a small, narrow box on wheels, which is about half the width of a regular vehicle, and which is designed to be a lightweight style to get goods from a local enterprises to a customer, or from one person to another within a neighborhood or city. The platform is just one example of what Nuro wants to do, however; the startup bills itself as a product company focused on bringing “the benefits of robotics” to everyday use and ordinary people.
Nuro’s AV also operates altogether autonomously, and looks like something you’d ensure on a Moon base in a retro-futuristic sci-fi demonstrate. There’s a pin pad for user interaction, so that only the right customer can access the contents stored under, and a top-mounted sensor array that includes LiDAR, optical cameras and radar( other sensors are located around the vehicle to enable its autonomous driving ).
The young startup’s objective is to partner with businesses to set up transportation services. You can easily imagine this slotting in nicely to something like Uber Eats, and bringing food from the local lunch place to offices around where people are hungry but can’t build the trip out to their usual places in person. Or, they are able supporting Amazon’s last mile be required for in-city delivery, for example. Nuro isn’t yet talking about specific partnerships, however.
This fit-for-purpose vehicle and dedicated focus could help Nuro achieves some of the vision that Ford has for its AV program, for example, with potentially fewer barriers to deployment in limited markets and specifically bounded surroundings. It’s still early days for the startup, however, and it’s also competing in some way with more established young companies like Starship Robotics. Still, it’s a neat first product and an interesting vision.
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