U.S. courier and logistics company FedEx plans to use autonomous mini-vehicles from California-based robotics company Nuro to deliver goods, food and packages locally. To that end, the two companies have formed a partnership, FedEx and Nuro announced Tuesday.
The pilot project in Houston, Texas, which has been underway since April 2021, will use Nuro’s self-driving delivery vehicles to make deliveries and will now run for several years and include several phases. FedEx is currently testing various use cases within the group. The focus, he said, is to determine in what areas autonomous vehicles can be used and how. In the process, the logistics company is exploring multi-stop and appointment-based delivery, same-day delivery, and local delivery of specialized goods such as pharmaceuticals.
Pick up deliveries from the vehicle
The Nuro R2 delivery vehicle used, designed and manufactured in cooperation with Roush Enterprises, has several compartments that can be opened separately to store goods and can be cooled for food deliveries. Customers receive a message via app about the location, delivery time, as well as a pickup code. Then they have to go to the vehicle themselves and after entering the code they can take out their goods.
According to the manufacturer, the Nuro R2 is about 2.7 meters long and 1.1 meters narrow. With a speed limited to 40 km. Goods with a total weight of up to 190 kilograms can be picked up by the electric motor-driven mini-delivery vehicle with a tare weight of 1150 kilograms. A 31 kWh battery powers the small autonomous vehicle, which is equipped with cameras, lidar sensors and radar technology for autonomous driving.
Nuro – Autonomous small van
The Nuro R2 drives autonomously.
FedEx has high hopes for its collaboration with Nuro and the potentially diverse uses of autonomous delivery vehicles across the supply chain. The rapid growth in e-commerce makes it necessary to use autonomous systems. This is to increase security, efficiency and productivity. FedEx’s environmental footprint was also allowed to improve with the use of Nuro vehicles.