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Driverless delivery startup raises half a billion dollars to transport local goods

(BUSINESS NEWS) Science fiction gets closer to becoming part of modern day as driverless delivery gets widely funded (pulled by big company names too!)

Driverless car dashboard facing mountain road.

A future with driverless delivery just got one step closer to becoming a reality.

Nuro Inc., based out of Mountain View, California, recently raised a staggering $500 million in it’s Series C funding round according to a company blog post. The round was led by T. Rowe Price, Fidelity Management & Research Company, LLC. and Ballie Gifford. Existing investors in the four-year old startup, including the SoftBank Vision Fund 1 and Greylock also participated as well.

The amount raised isn’t surprising given the recent spike in COVID-19 cases and higher demand for contactless delivery. Nuro Inc. already partners with big retail names such as Walmart, CVS Pharmacy, and Kroger’s. The organization said that the recent round of funding will help the company use it’s second-generation R2 self-driving vehicles.

“We now know that our industry, self-driving local delivery, will not only make it easier to buy groceries, hot food, prescription drugs, and other products, but will also positively impact local economies, and serve low-income communities living in food deserts,” co-founder and CEO Jiajun Zhu said in the blog post. “And during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have learned that contactless delivery of goods — the service R2 provides — can help reduce the spread.”

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This past February Nuro received an exemption from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration allowing the use of its R2 vehicles to be on the road, becoming the second autonomous vehicle to receive a driverless testing permit in California. The company also started road testing in Houston and Phoenix, with public deliveries currently available in Houston. During the pandemic R2’s have been delivering food, water and medical supplies to patients and doctors in hospitals and care facilities.

“When we started Nuro, my co-founder Dave and I set out to build a team that would apply its core expertise in robotics to develop products that can free us to use our own time on the things and people we value most.” Zhu said, “With this latest round of funding securing a long runway of future technology development and commercialization, we at Nuro could not be more excited about what the next 4 years will bring.”

Patrick Auger is a management consultant and entrepreneur who resides in Austin, Texas. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management from Western Illinois University, and is the Founder and Principal Consultant at Auger Consulting Group, LLC. When he's not writing for The American Genius, he's writing about the business of Mixed Martial Arts for The Body Lock or learning how to cook, one burnt recipe at a time.

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