The companies hope to expand to the greater Bay Area.
Uber Eats customers in California and Texas may soon have their takeout delivered by a driverless delivery pod after the company signed a 10-year deal with autonomous driving startup Nuro.
Today’s announcement is the culmination of over four years of start-and-stop negotiations between the two companies. Uber wanted to use Nuro’s vehicles to make deliveries in Houston back in 2019, but those plans never panned out. Now, the two companies have struck a decade-long deal to expand robot deliveries to more customers than ever.
Starting this fall, Uber and Nuro will deploy autonomous delivery vehicles in two cities: Mountain View, California, and Houston, Texas. Neither company would disclose the number of vehicles nor the expected number of customers who will participate in these early tests, but they did say they eventually hope to expand the service area to the greater Bay Area in California.
Nuro’s second-generation R2 vehicle is not your typical delivery robot designed only for sidewalk travel. It’s much larger, about half as wide as a compact sedan, but shorter than most cars. And there’s no room inside for human passengers or drivers, making it fully driverless in the truest sense. It has a top speed of 45 mph, making it ideal for residential travel but not allowing it to go on highways. It can carry a total of 500 lbs, with space for about 24 grocery bags in its compartments.