Nuro’s newest autonomous delivery bot is designed for the masses

There’s even an airbag on the exterior

By Kirsten Korosec

Nuro showed off Wednesday one of the final pieces of its commercial autonomous delivery strategy.

The startup, which has raised more than $2.13 billion since former Google engineers Dave Ferguson and Jiajun Zhu founded the company in June 2016, unveiled a third-generation electric autonomous delivery vehicle designed for commercial operations and manufactured in partnership with BYD North America.

Nuro has dropped the alpha-numeric nomenclature (R1 and then R2) for this delivery bot that is designed to haul packages, not people. Instead, the vehicle is called “Nuro” — a self-titled album of sorts meant to introduce the robot to the masses and a name that illustrates where this flagship model sits within the company. If it’s not clear, the “Nuro” is at the top.

The Nuro bot is not a sidewalk delivery bot. This new generation, and all of Nuro’s previous iterations, are meant for the road.

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Seoul Robotics’ autonomous ‘Control Tower’ remotely manages self-driving vehicle fleets

BMW is currently testing the system at its Munich manufacturing facility.

By A. Tarantola

Despite Tesla’s ambitious claims of its vehicles’ Full Self-Driving capabilities, today’s autonomous navigation technology generally tops out at Level 2. More advanced self-driving systems are in development but likely still years away from being safe and cost-effective enough for everyday use. Seoul Robotics, however, has developed a mesh network that reportedly imparts Level 5 autonomy to vehicle fleets, if only for the “last mile.”

The company’s Level 5 Control Tower system sidesteps some technical challenges of self-driving technology by embedding sensors in the surrounding infrastructure — traffic lights, nearby buildings, freeway overpasses, etc — rather than on the vehicles themselves. Instead of each vehicle looking out for itself and responding autonomously to surrounding traffic, the Level 5 Control Tower uses its meshed sensor network to collect data on the overall traffic situation and automate vehicles in the area accordingly, using V2X communications and 4/5G radios.

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John Deere says its autonomous tractor is ready for production

The self-driving Deere 8R can operate without a pilot when covering a field.

By D. Cooper

Agricultural hardware giant and scourge of right-to-repair advocateseverywhere John Deere is ready to show off its finished, fully-autonomous tractor. Here at CES, the company is saying that this unit is going to be put into large-scale production, and will be made available to farmers later this year. When in use, a farmer can set the hardware to work and then leave it running, allowing them to tend to vital work elsewhere. The idea, so the company says, is to help make farming more efficient and more robust in the face of ever-increasing demand and dwindling resources.

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Self-Driving Cab-Less Delivery Van Can Carry Up 2,000 Lbs of Cargo, Make 80 Stops Per Run

by Florina Spînu

California-based startup Udelv unveiled the first cab-less electric delivery van virtually at CES 2022. Called the Transporter, the vehicle will use Mobileye’s vision-sensing technology that will allow it to achieve Level 4 autonomous operation for last- and middle-mile delivery of goods. 

The Transporter features a modular pod that is capable of carrying up to 2,000 lbs (907 kg) of cargo that includes anything from convenience goods, e-commerce packages, and auto parts to electronics and medical supplies. 

“The Transporter is transformative for two of the world’s largest industries: automotive and logistics. It was created to solve two great challenges of commercial fleets: the shortage of drivers and the electrification of fleets,”said Udelv CEO Daniel Laury.

The vehicle can make up to 80 stops per run at speeds that reach 70 mph (113 kph). It has a battery capacity between 90 and 160 kWh. The cab-less van can cover between 160 and 300 miles (257-483 km) depending on the chosen battery pack. The company says that it will take less than an hour to add up to 220 miles (322 km) of range when recharged at a DC Fast Charging station.

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World’s first fully driverless truck trip: TuSimple’s autonomous semi traveled 80 miles on public roads from Tucson to Phoenix with no one at the wheel

By STACY LIBERATORE

  • The truck, developed by TuSimple, cruised along I-10 from Tucson, Arizona to Phoenix for one-hour and 20 minutes
  • This is the world’s first fully driverless trip taken by a semitruck
  • No human was at the wheel or inside truck during its 80-mile journey
  • The truck also operated on public roads, highways and through congested areas 

TuSimple’s autonomous semitruck recently completed the world’s first driverless trip, which saw the vehicle travel 80 miles in Arizona without a safety person at the wheel or any human intervention. 

The nighttime drive on December 22 started at a railyard in Tucson, traveled along 1-10 for one hour and 20 minutes, and ended at a distribution center in Phoenix.

Along the journey, TuSimple’s Autonomous Driving System (ADS) successfully navigated surface streets, traffic signals, on-ramps, off-ramps, emergency lane vehicles, and highway lane changes in open traffic while naturally interacting with other motorists, according to the company.

This trip is also the first time a class 8 autonomous truck has operated on open public roads and TuSimple says this is only the beginning of its technology’s abilities.

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Ford to launch free food delivery program in southwest Detroit using autonomous shuttle

By Jordyn Grzelewski

In a move aimed both at fulfilling a community need and advancing vehicle technologies considered a key part of its future, Ford Motor Co. is launching a fresh food delivery pilot in southwest Detroit using an autonomous vehicle shuttle.

The Dearborn automaker, with its philanthropic arm the Ford Motor Co. Fund, on Tuesday announced a six-month initiative kicking off after the holidays that aims to deliver approximately 10,000 pounds of fresh food to residents of Rio Vista Detroit Co-op Apartments, a senior living center near Ford’s under-construction Michigan Central campus in Corktown. 

The pilot builds on a free food program, called Ford Resource and Engagement Center on the Go, that the Ford Fund and Gleaners Community Food Bank launched earlier this year, doubling the existing food deliveries for more than 20 Rio Vista residents who participate in the service.

“We’re constantly thinking about how to expand our reach in communities for those who don’t have access to the most basic goods, like groceries or warm meals,” Joe Provenzano, mobility director for the Ford Fund, said in a statement. “Bringing Ford’s mobility expertise together with local collaborations allows us to create innovative solutions that make communities stronger and people’s lives better.”

The existing food delivery program operated by the Ford Fund and Gleaners already has distributed roughly 2.4 million pounds of food, according to a news release. Participants receive a mixture of dry and canned goods, plus fresh produce, milk and cheese. The pilot program will bring participants with an additional delivery, containing fresh produce and milk, each month. 

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China’s Baidu wants to launch its driverless robotaxi service in 100 cities by 2030

An Apollo Robotaxi runs at Shougang Park as Baidu launches China’s first driverless taxi service in the city on May 2, 2021 in Beijing, China.

By Arjun Kharpal

  • Baidu plans to launch its driverless taxi service in 100 cities by 2030 as the Chinese search giant looks to diversify its business beyond advertising. 
  • The company wants to expand Apollo Go to 65 cities by 2025 and then 100 cities by 2030, Baidu CEO Robin Li said in an internal letter that was made public. 
  • Baidu’s driverless car announcement comes after the company reported revenue of 31.92 billion yuan ($4.95 billion) for the third quarter, which was ahead of market expectations. 

GUANGZHOU, China — Baidu plans to launch its driverless taxi service in 100 cities by 2030, as the Chinese search giant looks to diversify its business beyond advertising.

Currently, Baidu operates its Apollo Go robotaxi service in five Chinese cities. Users can hail an autonomous car via an app.

The company wants to expand Apollo Go to 65 cities by 2025 and then 100 cities by 2030, Baidu CEO Robin Li said in an internal letter that was made public.

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‘Robotaxis will be disruptive to conventional taxis and ride-hailing, but not car ownership’, says new report

BY DAVID EDWARDS

Robotaxis remain one of the most pursued applications for autonomous vehicle technologies today, with many developers envisioning an end to – or at least a significant reduction in – car ownership. 

Developers of autonomous vehicles, specifically those focused on Level-4 self-driving vehicles, often focus on mobility services as the first application.

Not only is there a demonstrated market for taxis and ride-hailing, but it’s a market where the high costs of labor create high prices, making it a ripe opportunity for autonomous vehicle deployment. 

It is also a good technology fit as they can operate in geo-fenced areas, according to new data from Lux Research, a leading provider of tech-enabled research and innovation advisory services.

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GE Appliances and Einride unveil first autonomous and electric truck operating on US soil

Einride will bring its Pods to the US for the first time on GE Appliances’ 750-acre Appliance Park campus in Louisville, Kentucky.

By Jonathan Greig

Transportation is about to get a technology-driven reboot. The details are still taking shape, but future transport systems will certainly be connected, data-driven and highly automated.

GE Appliances and Swedish freight technology company Einride announced the debut of what they say is the first autonomous and electric truck to operate on US soil this week. 

Einride has been operating internationally since 2019 but will bring its autonomous Pods to the US for the first time on GE Appliances’ 750-acre Appliance Park campus in Louisville, Kentucky. 

Einride is also providing GE Appliances with electric vehicles at locations in Tennessee and Georgia. The companies claimed that the partnership would save GE Appliances 970 tons of CO2 emissions within the first year. 

“Sustainability and cost-efficiency is a prerequisite for implementing innovation into our business strategy,” said Bill Good, vice president of manufacturing at GE Appliances.

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Volvo Unveils First Autonomous EV Made from Fossil-free Steel

By Nolan Beilstein

Volvo Group has built a prototype made with fossil-free steel and New Atlas reports the Swedish manufacturing corporation is claiming the vehicle is the first of its kind. The fully electric and autonomous vehicle is a load carrier and Volvo expects a small-scale series production in 2022 with mass production to follow. 

In August, Swedish steelmaker SSAB completed the first fossil-free steel delivery to Volvo. Volvo then used the steel to make the new load carrier. 

SSAB manufactured the steel by using hydrogen rather than coal and coke as a reductant. Also, instead of a coal-fired blast furnace, SSAB used an electric variant that runs on renewable energy. 

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EINRIDE LAUNCHES AUTONOMOUS PODS AND ELECTRIC FREIGHT OPERATIONS IN US

By Rebecca Bellan

Swedish freight technology company Einride announced the launch of its operations in the United States. On Thursday, the company will officially begin testing its transport solutions — like its autonomous “pods,” electric trucks and “Saga” operating system — with partners like GE Appliances (GEA), Bridgestone and Oatly.

The company also announced that it would introduce a U.S. version of its pod which has been adapted to suit American road conditions and regulations, as well as a flatbed pod, a module vehicle built to accommodate a range of shipping needs, such as transporting containers from shipyards.

Einride operates one of Europe’s largest fleets of electric trucks. Its autonomous pods, which are built without a front cab, and thus, without room for a human safety operator, are also electric. Some of the other major players in the autonomous freight game, like Kodiak Robotics, TuSimple and Waymo, are not necessarily pursuing an electric-only approach.

“Between 7% and 8% of global CO2 emissions come from heavy road freight transport,” Robert Falck, CEO and founder of Einride, told TechCrunch. “One of the drivers for starting Einride is that I’m very worried that by optimizing and making road freight transport autonomous, but based on diesel, it’s likely that we will actually increase emissions because it would become that much cheaper to operate.”

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FedEx teams up with Neolix for autonomous delivery vehicle test

Neolix-FedEx delivery vehicle

By Gabriella From Gasgoo

Beijing (Gasgoo)- Global express transportation giant FedEx Express announced that it is working with China’s Neolix to test autonomous delivery vehicles in China. This marks the first time that FedEx has partnered with local Chinese tech company for driverless vehicle tests.

The partnership signifies FedEx’s effort to embrace the innovative, sustainable and intelligent logistics in China.

FedEx disclosed that the Neolix collaborative vehicles will be electric-powered with a range of 100km on a full charge and features L4 autonomous functions. The vehicles will be mounted with an interchangeable cargo box that can be converted into a temperature-controlled storage or a parcel locker. The maximum cargo capacity is roughly 500 kg.

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