Nuro raises $600M for autonomous delivery vehicles

The Robot Report
Nuro Dominos

Nuro partnered with Domino’s on autonomous pizza delivery in Houston. | Credit: Nuro

Nearly one year after raising $500 million, autonomous delivery vehicle developer Nuro today raised another $600 million in Series D funding. Mountain View, Calif.-based Nuro has now raised $2.1 billion since it was founded in 2016. The latest funding reportedly values the company at $8.6 billion.

The Series D round was led by Tiger Global Management and included a slew of other investors. Most interesting, perhaps, was Alphabet Inc.’s Google joining the round with an undisclosed amount. Alphabet’s self-driving business unit, Waymo, has tested autonomous delivery with Walmart. And Nuro co-founders Dave Ferguson and Jiajun Zhu are both former Alphabet engineers who worked on the company’s autonomous vehicle efforts.

Nuro is one of the leading U.S.-based autonomous vehicle companies, along with the likes of Aurora, Cruise, Gatik, Waymo and others. Nuro is developing the R2, a low-seed, electric self-driving car that delivers goods to people, including prepared food, groceries, medicine, and retail products. The R2 was built to operate exclusively as an autonomous vehicle. It has no brake pedals or steering wheel. It also lacks side mirrors, rear visibility, and a windshield that can be seen through, all of which are required in human-driven vehicles, according to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

In February 2020, Nuro became the first U.S. autonomous vehicle developer to be given exemptions by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for testing on public roads without the need to have controls for human operators. In April 2020, Nuro received a second permit to test the R2 on certain public roads in sections of nine cities within Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

Nuro has partnerships with leaders in grocery, logistics, restaurant, and pharmacy verticals. In June 2021, it partnered with FedEx to test multi-stop and appointment-based autonomous delivery in Houston. In April 2021, it partnered with Domino‘s for autonomous pizza delivery in Houston. Nuro also works with CVS, Kroger and others.

Nuro partners with Google Cloud

Nuro on Tuesday also announced a five-year partnership with Google Cloud. Like all autonomous vehicles, the R2 generates vast amounts of data while driving on the road. This can make cloud services one of the bigger costs for an autonomous vehicle company. Cruise announced a similar deal with Microsoft at the beginning of the year.

With this deal, the companies will also “explore opportunities together to strengthen and transform local commerce.”

Other prominent investors in the Series D round included Toyota Motor Corp’s Woven Capital, SoftBank Group Corp’s Vision Fund 1, Kroger.

“We’re thrilled to have the backing of these prominent investors and world class companies, and honored that they support our vision of improving communities and revitalizing local commerce,” said Ferguson. “We believe this investment will allow us to accelerate our commercialization strategy and better everyday life with Nuro’s technology.”

“The arrival of ubiquitous on-demand ecommerce is changing the way we access goods. Demand for local deliveries is exploding. Nuro is the bridge to an era of sustainable, low cost, autonomous local delivery,” said Griffin Schroeder, partner, Tiger Global.

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Source: therobotreport

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