Nuro, founded by two former Google engineers in 2016, raised
$940 million from the SoftBank Vision Fund and recently secured
an undisclosed amount of equity investment from Woven Capital,
the mobility investment arm of a Toyota Motor Corp subsidiary.
With a small, low-speed vehicle to carry packages instead of
people, the robot company has been pulling ahead of other
autonomous startups in gaining regulatory approvals for on-road
The delivery service will begin at a Domino's outlet in Houston,
expanding to "many customers in many locations" as part of a
long-term partnership, said Cosimo Leipold, Nuroís head of
"Itís generally difficult for large companies to hire enough
drivers to fill their delivery demand," he said in an emailed
statement to Reuters.
Leipold said Nuro, which has partnered with retailers Kroger Co,
Walmart Inc and CVS Health Corp to deliver groceries and
prescriptions, said its weekly deliveries nearly tripled in the
first three months of the pandemic.
Houston, the fourth-largest U.S. city, has one of the country's
highest road fatality rates. "Houstonís roadways create
challenging scenarios for our technology to work with."
In 2019, Nuro and Dominoís said they expected to launch robot
pizza delivery late that year. "Nuro and Dominoís have taken a
measured approach to prioritize a smooth and safe deployment,"
Nuro got U.S. regulatory approval last year to start the
unmanned delivery service.
(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin in Seoul; Editing by William Mallard)
[© 2021 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2021 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Thompson Reuters is solely responsible for this content.