Can Nuro Carve Out A Niche in the Driverless Delivery Van Market?
To imagine the Nuro driverless delivery van you have to picture a four-wheeled handbag with a sideways handle. A 1500 lb 17′(approx)x 3′ handbag.
The Nuro is the brainchild of Dave Ferguson and Jiajun Zhu. The pair worked on Google’s self-navigating Waymo. Jiajun was a project engineer. Ferguson holds a Doctorate in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon.
Naturally, driverless vehicles raise safety concerns. Since it is not intended to set a wheel on the highway the Nuro is a low-speed vehicle. To avoid hitting pedestrians the van is designed to aim itself for the nearest inanimate object.
Intended solely for local deliveries the Nuro’s cargo area whose capacity is about 250 lbs. It can be tailored to suit the needs of any business. It can be refrigerated for delivering perishables or can contain rods for hanging clothes.
As Ferguson sees it the Nuro will not put people out of work. He argues that Nuro will create new work opportunities for displaced delivery drivers. His reasoning is that by creating new markets the Nuro will, in turn, create new jobs.
Though autonomous the Nuro has a windshield to calm other motorists. What is more calming than looking through the windshield of an oncoming vehicle and not seeing a driver?
Nuro faces three obstacles. As of this writing, no one has expressed an interest in buying Nuros. Other larger companies like Ford and GM have a head start developing their driver-free delivery vehicles. Only a few states have legalized driverless vehicles.