There have been new developments on the self-driving front, with Uber Eats (NYSE: UBER) signing a 10-year agreement with Nuro on autonomous food delivery. The latter has developed driverless delivery robots, which are already working on a limited basis in several cities. The latest partnership will begin this fall with deliveries to Houston, Texas, and Mountain View, California, with expansion planned in the Greater Bay Area.
A bigger picture: Following a fatal crash in Arizona and dwindling R&D funding, Uber (UBER) backed away from its autonomous ambitions in 2020 by selling its autonomous subsidiary to Aurora Technologies. With Uber (UBER) still owning a stake in the auto tech startup and CEO Dara Khosrowshahi sitting on its board, Uber (UBER) is feeling pressure to invest in an industry its founder once hailed as essential for the future of the company. In fact, General Motors (GM) subsidiary Cruise just announced that its revenue-generating ride-hailing service would begin operations in Austin and Phoenix within 90 days, which could be seen as a potential threat to Uber (UBER). and others if it evolves rapidly. .
“With our unique autonomous delivery vehicles and Uber’s phenomenal scale and reach, we can expand food delivery options from your favorite local restaurants to national chains,” said Cosimo Leipold, manager. partnerships at Nuro.
How it works: Nuro’s second-generation R2 vehicle is about half the width of a compact sedan, but shorter than most cars. It cruises the roads at a top speed of 45 mph and can hold around 24 bags of groceries in its temperature-controlled compartments. R2 is also completely self-contained, meaning customers will have to take to the streets to unlock their “grab-and-go” controls by entering a code into a keypad on the side of the vehicle.