S ame-day orders. A magic word in the world of online shopping. This means that you can receive the goods you have just ordered on the same day. To ensure that this type of order can be carried out completely independently of human drivers, the Nuro company, founded by Dave Ferguson and Jiajun Zhu in 2016, has tested its fully autonomous, i.e. driverless, delivery vehicle over the past few years. In February 2020, the latest model, called R2, received approval from the US Department of Transportation for use on public roads.
However, there are also conditions that are tied to this temporary two-year exemption. The company must inform the affected communities about the use of their vehicles. In total, no more than 5,000 vehicles of the type R2 may be produced and used.
It weighs a ton and can travel up to 40 km /h
The Nuro R2, which has a maximum speed of 40 kilometers per hour and is equipped with LIDAR, radar, ultrasound, audio sensors and twelve cameras, is manufactured and driven in the USA purely electric. Compared to the previous model, the R1, the R2 has 65 percent more battery capacity and the compartments have temperature control so that perishable goods stay fresh longer. More precisely, the R2 draws its energy from a 31 kilowatt-hour battery that is charged after a good five hours. It is 2.74 meters long, 1.30 meters wide and 1.86 meters high. The braking system of the 1,150 kilogram R2 is to be designed for vehicles of double the weightand the materials at the front and rear are softer than usual in the event of a pedestrian collision.
The maximum payload is 190 kilograms and the load volume is 634 liters. At the same time, all driving and safety-related systems are doubly protected. The loading area behind the two self-opening doors is at a back-friendly height. In other words, the customer does not have to bend down to unload. A generator provides a sound that cannot be overheard, which draws attention to the approaching, otherwise silent driving vehicle. As it is a low-speed self-driving delivery vehicle, 'certain features traditionally required by the Department, such as mirrors and windshields, are no longer useful for vehicles that carry drivers,' explains US Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao
First tests in Scottsdale and Houston
In Scottsdale, Arizona, a silver egg has been driving from house to house on four wheels for some time. But not empty. Because Nuro was able to win a first mutual partner with The Kroger Co. The customer can place an order at America's largest grocery supermarket chain and also the third largest retailer using a smartphone app and expect delivery on the same day. With precisely this application, the customer is also able to always see the exact location of the robot vehicle. Upon arrival, he will receive a code to open the doors. The price for delivery is just under five euros. There is no minimum order value.
But other services are also possible. For example, using a robot car as a pizza delivery man. Domino's, one of the world's largest pizza delivery companies, will be testing just that in Houston from September or October. The system works similarly to ordering from the supermarket. This is Domino's second partnership with an automobile manufacturer. The company has been working with Ford in the field of self-driving cars since 2017; but there is still a person behind the wheel as a safety driver. Incidentally, Domino's rival Pizza Hut is cooperating with Toyota.