June 18, 2021 11:30 AM, EDT

FedEx to Test Nuro Autonomous Delivery Vehicles

FedEx/Nuro deliveryFedEx/Nuro

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STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — FedEx Corp. announced June 15 that it has partnered with Nuro, one of the nation’s leading autonomous vehicle companies, to test the use of driverless vehicles for multistop and appointment-based deliveries in Houston.

“FedEx was built on innovation, and it continues to be an integral part of our culture and business strategy,” said Rebecca Yeung, vice president of advanced technology and innovation at FedEx. “We are excited to collaborate with an industry leader like Nuro as we continue to explore the use of autonomous technologies within our operations.”

The deliveries will be made by Nuro’s R2 vehicle, the first fully autonomous, driverless delivery vehicle to receive regulatory approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation to operate on public roads.

The R2 sports numerous innovative features that would not be possible with manually driven vehicles.

For example, the lack of side-view mirrors allows for smooth rounded contours, narrowing the size of the vehicle and allowing additional street space for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians.

Additionally, the lack of a front windshield allows for a “Pedestrian-Protecting Front End” that absorbs energy and is capable of collapsing inward in the case of a collision, limiting damage to anything struck by the vehicle.

“Working with FedEx — the global leader in logistics — is an incredible opportunity to rethink every aspect of local delivery,” said Cosimo Leipold, Nuro’s head of partnerships. “This multiyear commitment will allow us to truly collaborate and bring Nuro’s powerful technology to more people in new ways, and eventually reach large-scale deployment.”

While the partnership with FedEx marks Nuro’s first step in parcel delivery, the company’s driverless vehicles are already being tested in other capacities, including delivering pizza in Houston.

In April, Domino’s, the world’s largest pizza company, started offering autonomous pizza delivery services to select customers in Houston through a partnership with Nuro.

“There is still so much for our brand to learn about the autonomous delivery space. This program will allow us to better understand how customers respond to the deliveries, how they interact with the robot and how it affects store operations,” said Dennis Maloney, Domino’s senior vice president and chief innovation officer.

FedEx ranks No. 2 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of for-hire carriers in North America.

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