Nuro’s R1 robot vans have made their first deliveries as part of a partnership with The Kroger Co. to test driverless delivery vehicles.
The companies announced a deal earlier this year to deploy a fleet of the self-driving delivery vans in the Scottsdale, Ariz., market. The companies have executed about 1,000 deliveries with self-driving Toyota Prius vehicles, but the R1 vans—designed to make deliveries as a part of a mission to “transform local commerce”—is the signature product of the two-year-old company.
A video posted by Nuro shows several families receiving their first deliveries from the R1, which are assembled at a local Fry’s store.
“While this first unmanned service represents the culmination of many years of work, it also represents another beginning,” said Dave Ferguson, Nuro’s co-founder, in a blog post. “For this may be the first, but it will be followed by many more: more vehicles, more cities and more services. Together with others in the industry, we will usher in new ways to provide transportation, and more time, to everyone.”
Self-driving cars, along with robotics for assembling orders, are rapidly expanding as the industry seeks cost-efficient ways to fulfill a growing demand for online grocery shopping. Another robotic delivery van firm, Udelv, earlier this year announced partnerships with food retailers Buy for Less and Farmstead set to begin next year.
Walmart, in the meantime, said it would test driverless delivery, including agreements with Waymo and a recent deal with Ford and Postmates in Miami.