Self-driving delivery vehicles that carry no humans will hit Houston roads next month.
Nuro last year began piloting self-driving Prius cars in Houston, but the delivery vehicles still had a human driver and passenger to oversee the technology. The R2, which weighs about 2,500 pounds and has a maximum speed of 25 miles per hour, will have no human driver or passenger.
Nuro worked with Michigan manufacturer Roush Enterprises to develop the R2. The companies recently received the first exemption for an autonomous vehicle from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which allows the vehicle to have no side mirrors, allows for continuous operation of its rearview cameras and does not require a traditional windshield. The R2 instead has a more curved, shock-absorbing front to better protect pedestrians, the company said.
Several grocers, including Kroger, Walmart and H-E-B, are testing self-driving grocery delivery service in Texas. Supermarket chains are investing heavily in new technologies to win over online shoppers. Customers using the autonomous vehicle delivery service will have to pick up their groceries from the vehicle curbside, notified of their arrival via text message. They will use a unique code to pick up their groceries.