When speaking about its autonomous vehicles, one expects the company to speak about accident avoidance rates, 360-degree sensors, artificial intelligence, machine learning among other things. But Mountain View, California-based Nuro's third-generation autonomous electric vehicle has an airbag for pedestrians, in case of an unavoidable collision, The Verge reported.
Founded in 2016, Nuro is the brainchild of two veterans from Google's self-driving car project. While Google's project transformed into Waymo, offering autonomous taxi services in the greater Phoenix area of Arizona, Nuro wants to offer commercial deliveries in an autonomous way. To this effect, its electric vehicle has absolutely no place for drivers, not even to trial its driving software. The internal space of the vehicle has been fully repurposed to make deliveries.
In a post on Medium, the company has detailed the changes that accompany the launch of its third-generation delivery vehicle. The width of the car has been intentionally reduced by 20 percent so that pedestrians and cyclists on the road have more room alongside the delivery bot.
For the bot, the company does not expect any special working conditions, though, and is designed to work in all weather across geographies. The sensors on the bot not only give it a 360-degree view of the world but also help the vehicle distinguish between leaves and a small animal and even count the number of people in a dense fog, the company claims. Most importantly, the sensors can clean themselves to ensure that they perform to their maximum efficiency without relying on periodic maintenance.
To improve the delivery experience, the bot can be fitted with modular inserts that help in the segregation of deliveries. The compartments can also be temperature controlled to ensure that deliveries are made at appropriate temperatures and the top speed of 45mph (75 kph) can ensure that deliveries are on time as well.
Last year, the company announced plans of building a manufacturing facility in Nevada. However, the company is partnering with BYD North America, to assemble hardware components for the vehicles and has begun pre-production. Nuro has already committed to building its platform with materials that do not harm the environment but is also going a step further to power its fleet using renewable energy from Texan wind farms, the company claimed.
The Verge reported that Nuro has permission to charge for deliveries it makes in California. With the third generation vehicle, it is set to start a new chapter in autonomous deliveries.