FedEx is expanding its robotics testing to include one of the bigger names in autonomous delivery. The company has struck a multi-year deal with Nuro to test its self-driving delivery vehicles, including for "last-mile" deliveries. The team-up started this April with a Houston-area pilot, but that's likely to expand when Nuro characterized this as a pledge to use driverless vehicles on a "large-scale."
This is a big move for Nuro. which is dipping into parcel logistics for the first time after focusing heavily on grocery deliveries and pizza. For FedEx, this could help it manage capacity, tackle less-than-ideal routes and cut costs (which, let's be honest, could involve job cuts). It's also a competitive play — rivals like UPS are already testing self-driving trucks, and this could help it keep up as the courier business becomes increasingly automated.
Nuro also envisioned this helping customers in the long run. FedEx could not only deliver at more convenient times, but tell you exactly when your package will arrive. You also wouldn't have to travel to a store or wait for a human driver to ship a package of your own. In other words, courier services could operate more on your terms.