FedEx and Nuro launch pilot program to test self-driving delivery vehicle

FedEx has announced a new multi-year deal with self-driving technology company Nuro to test its autonomous delivery vehicle under a pilot program. According to FedEx, the arrangement includes a multi-phase agreement that'll enable the company to evaluate the ways in which it may be able to utilize Nuro's autonomous vehicle. The pilot program is taking place in Houston.

FedEx has been exploring the ways autonomous technologies can be integrated into its business, including the potential use of self-driving vehicles for making same-day and appointment-based package deliveries. This is a milestone for Nuro, however, marking its first expansion into the world of parcel logistics.

Nuro has already teamed up with companies in other industries, including big-name corporations like CVS and Walmart. The company's autonomous vehicle looks a bit unusual compared to the other cars on the street and that's because it serves a unique purpose: it is made only to transport objects, not people. As a result, Nuro is narrower than typical delivery cars and, due to its electric nature, it has zero emissions.

Vehicles like this may one day be the common way to get items delivered to your home, including everything from a hot meal to your prescriptions and other orders. There is a downside at this moment, however, which is that the customer must walk out to the vehicle and retrieve their package — a problem that may likewise be addressed in the future for those who have mobility issues.

In talking about this new deal, Nuro's Cosimo Leipold said:

Working with FedEx—the global leader in logistics—is an incredible opportunity to rethink every aspect of local delivery. This multi-year 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. Our collaboration will enable innovative, industry-first product offerings that will better everyday life and help make communities safer and greener.