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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Nuro Moves Forward

This is the company Kroger is working with to pilot autonomous delivery.    Following closely.

Autonomous delivery startup Nuro picks up $940M from SoftBank   By Maria Deutscher in SiliconAngle

For a market that didn’t exist a couple years ago, the nascent autonomous delivery market is certainly drawing a lot of investor interest.

Nuro Inc., a startup looking to use self-driving vehicles to pick up groceries for consumers, today announced that it has closed a staggering $940 million investment from SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund. The round reportedly gives it a valuation of $2.7 billion. It has raised a total of more than $1 billion from SoftBank, Greylock Partners and Gaorong Capital.

Mountain View, California-based Nuro was founded in 2016 by Dave Ferguson and Jiajun Zhu, two veterans of Google LLC parent Alphabet Inc.’s self-driving car initiative. They worked on the project as principal engineers before the search giant spun it off into an independent business unit. Aurora Innovation inc., an autonomous driving startup led by another veteran of Alphabet’s self-driving car initiative, last week raised a $530 million funding round of its own.

In contrast with Aurora, which is taking a somewhat secretive approach with its efforts, Nuro hasn’t shied away from the industry spotlight. The startup made headlines last year when it announced a partnership with Kroger Co. to pilot an autonomous delivery service in Scottsdale, Arizona. After initially using Toyota Prius hybrids to ferry groceries to buyers, Nuro expanded the fleet in December with an internally developed robot dubbed the R1.

It’s about half the size of a car and has two storage compartments with space for three shopping bags each. This makes the vehicle larger than most of the other delivery robots on the market, including Amazon.com’s recently unveiled Scout rover.  ... " 

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