Autonomous Vehicles

Uber and Nuro strike a 10-year autonomous delivery partnership

The ride-hailing giant might be done with robotaxis, but it’s just starting with autonomous delivery.
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Nuro

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Just as Uber once bet big on driverless vehicles for rideshare, now the company is betting the same on autonomous delivery—and it’s committing with a capital C.

On Thursday, the company announced a 10-year partnership with Nuro, the SoftBank-backed autonomous-vehicle company, for robotic deliveries of Uber Eats orders.

  • The program will begin in Houston, Texas, and Mountain View, California, with plans to eventually expand around the Bay Area.

Electric and (autonomous) feel

Nuro’s fully self-driving EVs travel via public roads, and their compactness—with no seats or steering wheels—makes them prime for small-scale deliveries of food and goods. Nuro declined to disclose the size of its current fleet or share financial details about the partnership.

Quick recap: Founded by two former Google engineers in 2016, Nuro has raised over $2.1 billion to date. The company obtained California’s first-ever autonomous-vehicle deployment permit in 2020, and it has partnered with FedEx, Kroger, Domino’s, Walmart, and more.

  • Last month, on Uber’s Q2 earnings call, the company reported $2.6 billion in losses, but it beat analyst expectations on revenue, bringing in $8.1 billion, a 105% jump year over year.

The revenue increase continues a two-year trend—Uber invested heavily in its delivery arm to bolster business amid the pandemic, and now, even as ride-hailing picks back up, the company is expanding delivery to increase customer stickiness. The recently announced Nuro commitment is part of that push.

“What we’re seeing with new verticals customers is that Uber Eats customers who also order from new verticals tend to stay with us,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said on the August earnings call.

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