Autonomous vehicle startup Nuro unveiled a third-generation electric autonomous delivery vehicle designed for commercial operations and manufactured in partnership with BYD North America.
As the most advanced zero-occupant vehicle designed by the company to date, the new flagship model, simply called Nuro, is expected to scale its safe, eco-friendly, and convenient services to millions of people across the country.
Nuro’s third-generation vehicle is designed to carry more goods and enable more deliveries, with twice the cargo volume of the company’s second generation vehicle. The automotive production-grade vehicle will also feature modular inserts to customize storage and new temperature-controlled compartments to keep goods warm or cool. The introduction of the new model furthers Nuro’s ongoing commitment to sustainability through fully electric and zero emissions vehicles. Nuro is also announcing it will use 100% renewable energy for all vehicle charging and facilities for the first time starting this month. In addition, the company is releasing its first sustainability highlights report, covering actions the company has taken toward sustainability thus far and upcoming plans for the year ahead.
Since all of Nuro’s vehicles are designed specifically for transporting goods and not passengers, the new vehicle continues to prioritize the safety of other road users and in particular pedestrians and cyclists. Safety enhancements will include an external air bag to further improve safety for pedestrians outside the vehicle, as well as a multi-modal sensing suite, including cameras, radars, lidar and thermal cameras, creating a redundant 360-degree view of the world to keep track of its surroundings.
“Five years ago, we set out to build an autonomous vehicle and delivery service designed to run errands, giving people back valuable time. Through our strategic partnerships with Domino’s, FedEx, Kroger, 7-Eleven and more, we are doing just that—improving road safety, sustainability and overall access to goods delivery,” said Dave Ferguson, Nuro co-founder and president. “With the introduction of our new flagship model and the ground-breaking of our new production facility—one of the industry’s first end-of-line manufacturing facilities in America—we are excited about the opportunity to fulfill our vision of improving everyday life through autonomous delivery at scale.”
The new model will be produced in a supplier partnership with BYD North America and completed at Nuro’s new $40 million end-of-line manufacturing facility and world-class closed-course test track in southern Nevada. The facilities have the capacity to manufacture and test tens of thousands of delivery vehicles per year to ensure they are ready for deployment. BYD North America—part of one of the largest OEM networks of electric vehicles in the world—will assemble globally sourced hardware components for the vehicle platforms; Nuro will complete the final steps of manufacturing and make the autonomous vehicles ready for deployment.
“BYD attaches great importance to this collaboration with Nuro. As one of the world’s leading electric vehicle manufacturers and a turnkey solution provider, BYD will leverage the manufacturing capacity of its Lancaster facility to support Nuro and bring more jobs to California,” said Stella Li, Executive Vice President of BYD Co. Ltd. and President of BYD Motors Inc. “We are confident the development of this transformative autonomous delivery vehicle will create a better environment for us all.”
Nuro’s southern Nevada facilities are expected to be fully operational this year and will allow the company to manufacture its autonomous vehicles. The facilities are expected to create an initial 250 highly skilled career opportunities with long-term growth potential in the autonomous vehicle industry. Construction on the manufacturing facility officially kicked off in November 2021.
Additionally, Nuro’s strategic partnerships with industry leaders have continued to expand. In 2021 alone, the company announced a multi-year commitment with FedEx, introduced Chipotle as an investor partner, piloted delivery with Domino’s in Houston and with 7-Eleven in Mountain View. Notably, Nuro also formalized a commitment to leverage the company’s third-generation vehicle with grocery leader and long-standing partner and investor, Kroger.
“As America’s largest grocer, Kroger formed a strategic collaboration with Nuro in 2018,” said Yael Cosset, Kroger’s Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer. “We continue to invest in the company as a testament to its industry-leading technology and our commitment to innovation. The third-generation vehicle launch is the latest expansion of this collaboration. We expect the roll-out will continue to delight customers looking for the freshest groceries, providing them with the convenience and value they expect from Kroger.”
The announcement also follows Nuro’s $600 million Series D funding round closed in Q4 2021 and led by Tiger Global Management with participation from Baillie Gifford, Fidelity Management & Research Company, LLC, Gaorong Capital, Google, Kroger, SoftBank Vision Fund 1, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., Woven Capital, and other existing investors.
Nuro has raised more than $2.13 billion since former Google engineers Dave Ferguson and Jiajun Zhu founded the company in June 2016.