Autonomous cars may be the future of delivery, according to one company that’s pioneering driverless delivery technology.
It’s a self-driving toaster that will delivery anything from packages to pizzas. That’s the promise of Nuro’s new robo-car, a delivery vehicle that aims to put UPS drivers out of business.
Specializing in the “last mile” section of the parcel delivery industry, the new robo-car will take packages from a distribution center to local residences in its four lockable cargo compartments. Specifics on how the delivery remain scant, but one assumes that the client to pick up a package would be given a key beforehand (perhaps via smaller, flying drone) or just outright told which compartment has their package.
The robot delivery truck is actually less truck-sized and more the size of a golf cart. However, the lack of driver, passengers, and miniaturization of the electronic drivetrain means that it can have surprising cargo capacity, and not having to pay a driver or fill it with gas makes it undoubtedly cheaper to operate than traditional delivery trucks.
In its introductory video, Nuro shows their little robo-toaster deftly handling the challenges of a quiet suburban street, displaying a lack of animosity that is comforting for an entirely autonomous car. It doesn’t even seem to consider mowing down pedestrians or cyclists and even performs a u-turn without smashing into oncoming traffic, which is something that can’t be said for many human drivers.
Then, just to make sure the audience is aware Nuro is a technology company, the video shows a bunch of dudes with glasses futzing on computers, and a woman looking into a microscope. Because nothing says “science” like a microscope.
Nuro says the car is aimed at delivery companies as large as Amazon or as small as a mom-and-pop pizza place. One wonders if the world is ready for pizzas to be delivered by a robot, or if such a thing would result in a doomsday scenario of cold pizzas and stoned customers taking the wrong order from the car’s many cargo compartments.
The robo-toaster is set to hit streets in 2018. So far, they haven’t confirmed any buyers, but they’re hopeful. But one wonders about the expediency of clogging the roads with robo-cars when we could just fly packages via aerial drones?