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Robo-delivery startup Nuro raises $500 million

After discovering new applications for its product during the pandemic

Chuck Martin

November 16, 2020

1 Min Read

After discovering new applications for its wares during the pandemic

Self-driving vehicle startup Nuro has raised $500 million in a Series C funding round as it moves to scale robotic delivery of consumer goods.

Earlier this year, the company received approvals from the US Department of Transportation (DOT) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to start testing its driverless vehicles on public roads in California.

The state then issued a shelter-in-place order due to COVID-19, putting the pilot on hold. The robotics company quickly found another use for its R2 robotic delivery vehicles, using them to deliver medical supplies.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we learned that contactless delivery of goods, the service R2 provides, can help reduce the spread,” said Jiajun Zhu, CEO and co-founder of Nuro.

Tiny cars

The funding round was led by funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, with participation from existing investors including SoftBank Vision Fund 1 and Greylock, and new investors including Fidelity Management and Research Company, and Baillie Gifford. It brings the total raised by Nuro since 2016 to $1.5 billion.

“We are witnessing an unprecedented shift in consumer demand for safe and affordable local delivery services,” Zhu said. “This funding, which brings us together with many of the world’s top investors, positions Nuro confidently toward a future where our world-class technology is adopted into people’s everyday lives.”

Nuro has agreed partnerships with several well-known brands, including Walmart, Domino’s, Kroger, and CVS.

The first deployment of Nuro’s hardware and software was in a pilot with the grocery-chain Kroger in Arizona in 2018.

R2s now operate fully autonomously on public roads in California, Texas, and Arizona, without drivers, occupants, or following cars.

About the Author(s)

Chuck Martin

Editorial Director AI & IoT

Chuck Martin, a New York Times Business Bestselling author, futurist and columnist, is Editorial Director at Informa Tech, home of AI Business, IoT World Today and Enter Quantum. Martin has been a leader in emerging digital technologies for more than two decades. He is considered one of the foremost Internet of Things (IoT) experts in the world and his latest book is titled "Digital Transformation 3.0" (The New Business-to-Consumer Connections of The Internet of Things).  He hosts a worldwide podcast titled “The Voices of the Internet of Things with Chuck Martin,” where he converses with top executives from the companies driving the Internet of Things.

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