Robot Delivery Upstart Nuro’s New $600 Million Round Draws An Unexpected Backer: Google


Nuro, a developer of autonomous driving technology backed by two former Google engineers, hauled in an additional $600 million to speed up efforts to commercialize its robotic delivery services from past investors including SoftBank and Toyota’s Woven Capital and a surprising new one: Google.

The Series D round was led by Tiger Global Management and includes funds from Baillie Gifford, Fidelity, Gaorong Capital, SoftBank’s Vision Fund, T. Rowe Price and supermarket chain Kroger, for which Nuro provides delivery services. The new investment boosts the Mountain View, California-based company’s total funding to more than $2 billion and inflates its valuation to an estimated $8.6 billion. Nuro didn’t break out investment amounts from Google or any of the individual companies in a statement announcing the round.

“We’re thrilled to have the backing of these prominent investors and world-class companies, and honored that they support our vision of improving communities and revitalizing local commerce,” said Dave Ferguson, Nuro’s cofounder and president. “We believe this investment will allow us to accelerate our commercialization strategy and better everyday life with Nuro’s technology.”

Unlike Alphabet’s Waymo, the former Google Self-Driving Vehicle Project that both Ferguson and his fellow cofounder and CEO Jiajun “JZ” Zhu once worked for, Nuro is focused on commercializing small urban and suburban robotic delivery vehicles that haul only goods, not people. Waymo is also developing autonomous trucking and urban delivery services with its Waymo Via program, so Google’s decision to also back Nuro is an unexpected development.

In addition to its prodigious fundraising, Nuro has also operated numerous pilot delivery projects with companies and services including FedEx, Walmart, CVS, Kroger and Domino’s Pizza in Texas, Arizona and California. It also counts Chipotle as an investor.

Since partnering in 2018 “Kroger and Nuro completed thousands of deliveries to our customers—driving innovation that supports our expanding seamless ecosystem by creating consistent and rewarding customer experiences with scalable, sustainable and profitable solutions,” Yael Cosset, Kroger’s senior vice president and chief information officer, said in a statement. 

Along with investment dollars from Google, Nuro said it also has a five-year “strategic partnership” with Google Cloud that will support very large-scale self-driving simulations, machine learning services and storage of data from its vehicles. Nuro said it will also collaborate with Google to “explore opportunities together to strengthen and transform local commerce,” without elaborating.

Nuro’s current fleet of robotic R2s are small, toaster-shaped vehicles. It received approval from the Department of Transportation to deploy the vehicles, which have no steering wheel, conventional accelerator or brake pedals, to operate at low speeds on public roads. So far, the company has focused on deploying the vehicles in delivery fleets in residential and suburban communities, and restricting their speed to a maximum of 25 mph. Ferguson has said that it may develop larger, higher-speed vehicles in the future.

In August Nuro said it was investing $40 million to set up an assembly facility and test site near Las Vegas in preparation for ramping up the production of thousands of battery-powered robotic delivery vehicles. It’s working with Chinese electric vehicle maker BYD on its new fleet, which will be powered by the company’s latest battery pack and motor system. 

Stay connected with us on social media platform for instant update click here to join our  Twitter, & Facebook

We are now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@TechiUpdate) and stay updated with the latest Technology headlines.

For all the latest Technology News Click Here 

Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.
Leave a comment