Skip to main content

Nuro’s new autonomous delivery pod has an external airbag

Autonomous delivery specialist has just introduced the third version of its self-driving pod.

The new electric vehicle comes with more space for customer orders, customizable compartments for different types of goods, and an updated suite of navigation cameras, radar, lidar, and thermal cameras to equip the pod with a detailed view of its immediate environment.

Meet our newest-generation autonomous vehicle.

For the first time, it also features an external airbag to protect any distracted walkers and wayward cyclists who inadvertently stray into the pod’s path. An image (below) released by the California-based company shows the airbag fully inflated, covering the entire front of the driverless pod.

The third versions of Nuro's autonomous delivery vehicle, featuring an external airbag.

This is also the first Nuro pod that can be commercialized at scale, the company said.

Unlike self-driving cars being tested by Waymo and others, Nuro’s custom-built vehicles are designed exclusively to carry goods, with no space for passengers or even a safety driver. In fact, it doesn’t even have a steering wheel.

Get your weekly teardown of the tech behind PC gaming
Check your inbox!

Such a design gives Nuro’s vehicle a footprint that’s 20% smaller than the average passenger car, enabling it to take up the absolute minimum amount of road space.

Nuro has been testing earlier iterations of its vehicle on public roads in three states and has inked partnerships with the likes of Kroger, FedEx, Domino’s, and CVS Pharmacy.

Select customers can place an order with a local business such as a grocery store or pizza restaurant using Nuro’s smartphone app. When the autonomous vehicle carrying the order reaches its destination address, the customer receives an alert on their phone. They then pop outside and simply tap in a code on the vehicle’s touchscreen to unlock the compartment containing their order.

Besides further testing in real-world situations, Nuro will also trial its new pod on a closed test track being built in Nevada, where it will also manufacture the new pod.

Commenting on the new design, Nuro said: “This is the vehicle we’ll be producing at scale to better everyday life for millions, and we can’t wait for it to be on the road right outside your front door.”

Nuro was co-founded by Dave Ferguson and Jiajun Zhu six years ago, with both men gaining valuable experience from their time with Google’s autonomous-car unit (now Waymo) when it was starting out.

While the company’s technology and vision has prompted investment from an array of major firms that include Google and SoftBank, success for Nuro is dependent upon it creating stable partnerships with businesses that want to use its vehicles for last-mile deliveries, as well as regulators who will need to green light the autonomous pod before the platform can be rolled out in earnest.

It also has to beat off competition from other grocery delivery services — autonomous or not — which no easy feat in such a highly competitive market.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Yamaha’s new 3D ANC headphones take aim at the AirPods Max
Yamaha's YH-L700A 3D noise-canceling headphones.

Yamaha's latest wireless headphones, the $500 YH-L700A, appear to be priced and designed as the ultimate alternative to Apple's $549 AirPods Max. In addition to active noise cancellation (ANC) and transparency modes, the YH-L700A feature the company's version of spatial audio, which it enables via head-tracking -- the same technology that Apple uses in its AirPods Pro and AirPods Max. They're available starting today on Yamaha's website and soon from retailers like Best Buy.

Yamaha calls the spatial audio feature 3D Sound Field with head-tracking. Unlike spatial audio on the AirPods Max, which requires an Apple device like an iPhone or Apple TV 4K, plus the support of streaming apps like Apple Music, Netflix, or Disney+, Yamaha's tech is much more universal. According to the company, the headphones can convert traditional two-channel stereo into a 360-degree sound field at the push of a button. You can also choose between seven 3D sound modes depending on what you're listening to. These include Cinema, Drama, and Music Video (for video content), Audio Room and Background Music (for music), and Outdoor Live and Concert Hall modes (for performances).

Read more
New report points to redesigned MacBook and AirPods later this year
The 13-inch MacBook Pro, viewed at an angle from the back.

According to a new report from Economic Daily News, there is now additional confirmation that Apple will release its 3rd-gen AirPods and redesigned MacBooks in the second half of this year.

Multiple sources confirm that Apple still plans on launching new MacBooks and AirPods later this year, with increased shipment beginning from the third quarter of the year. Apple suppliers, such as Shin Zu Shing, are responsible for supplying bearings to the company for MacBooks and AirPods charging cases, and reportedly, they’re currently working with Apple to supply components for new products.

Read more
Apple Car will be fully autonomous with no driver input, insiders claim
apple ios developer academy logo

The ongoing “Apple Car” saga took another turn on Wednesday when a new report claimed the expected electric vehicle (EV) will be fully autonomous and designed to operate without the need of a driver.

“These will be autonomous, electric vehicles designed to operate without a driver and focused on the last mile,” an unnamed source with knowledge of Apple’s plans told CNBC.

Read more