The immediate-gratification society is about to get even more immediate when robotic, self-driving vehicles begin traveling the streets 24/7 delivering the stuff we've ordered. The latest entry is Nuro, a startup that has secured $92 million in financing to build small, driver-less delivery trucks.
Nuro is looking to help solve the Last Mile problem by delivering cargo and packages into small areas such as city streets. It is relatively easy to transport cargo over long distances but far more difficult (and expensive) to cover the final leg, the Last Mile.
Nuro believes that self-driving delivery vehicles will be easier to manage than passenger cars. For one, they are only half the size of a sedan and are built specifically for local roads, unlike regular cars that also have to travel on highways. Speed is not a priority with a local-delivery vehicle.
Because it's cheaper to operate, Nuro vehicles might also be able to provide services to local merchants, who normally can't offer local delivery.
Nuro is following on the heels of Aurora Innovations, which has recently partnered with Volkwagen and Hyundia to commercialize self-driving technology. Dozens of other tech companies are jumping into the market that some people believe will mark as radical a shift in transportation as when the internal combustion engine replaced horses.
Other car companies are getting into the act. Ford is testing a pilot program with Domino's to deliver pizzas in Michigan, and Toyota recently unveiled a concept vehicle called e-Palette that will supply self-driving vehicles to Uber, Amazon and other companies.
Many experts believe that these self-driving delivery vehicles will achieve success far sooner than self-driving passengers vehicles.