Walmart customers in Houston to get delivery by Nuro pod
After first revealing its autonomous electric delivery pod in January last year, Nuro went on to partner with supermarket retailer Kroger and then nailed its first unmanned delivery as 2018 came to a close. More recently, the robotics startup has agreed to deliver pizzas for Domino's and has now teamed up with Walmart for grocery delivery by pod in the Houston metro area.
"Walmart is committed to serving our customers whenever and however they choose to shop," said Walmart's Tom Ward. "We are excited to work with Nuro and continue to learn as we are incorporating self-driving technology in our delivery options, learning more about our customers’ needs, and evolving Walmart’s future delivery offerings."
Over the next few months, the retail giant – which has 200 million customers and 11,000 stores worldwide – will add autonomous delivery as an option for a pilot group of opt-in customers at select Houston stores. Nuro will be using the latest generation of its self-driving electric delivery vehicle, the R2, which is the same pod being used for the Domino's trial.
Nuro hasn't revealed much about the R1's successor, confirming only that it's 1.1 m (3.6 ft) wide but can accommodate more bags of shopping per trip (around 18), and that it will carry only groceries – no passengers and no driver. When the scheme is launched, initial deliveries will be made by Nuro's fleet of self-driving Prius cars before the R2 is rolled out further down the line.
"We are excited to join forces with Walmart to help provide the best possible delivery experience to customers," Nuro's Cosimo Leipold said. "Working alongside Walmart gives us an incredible opportunity to improve our door-to-door operations, serve Walmart’s loyal customers, and continue to integrate and engage with the Houston community."