|Retail company Kroger entered into a partnership with Nuro to produce driverless vehicles to deliver groceries to customers / Photo by Flickr.com|
In June, retail company Kroger entered into a partnership with startup company Nuro whose founders were a couple of engineers who worked on Google’s self-driving cars. The goal was to produce driverless vehicles to deliver groceries to customers. That has become closer to reality as Kroger starts testing its autonomous vehicles in Scottsdale, Arizona, which features Nuro’s self-driving platform installed on Toyota cars.
“Arizona is home to some of the most innovative autonomous vehicle testing… Our goal is to save people time while operating safely and learning how we can further improve the experience,” said Dave Ferguson, co-founder of Nuro, as quoted by the Daily Mail.
The launch of the driverless delivery vehicles in the area is a pilot test to determine the efficiency and performance of the new service. A 2018 Toyota Prius will be used, modified to run the self-driving platform called the Toyota Safety Sense, comprised of integrated safety features, such as:
Lane Departure Alert. It is, however, applicable only on roads with clear markings and if the vehicle is traveling at least 32 miles per hour.
Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. It allows the user to drive the car at a preset speed. The system maintains its preset speed via a vehicle-to-vehicle distance control that uses radar and cameras to detect other vehicles on the road and their distance.
Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection. Enables the car to tell if it’s a pedestrian or a vehicle in front.
Automatic High Beams. A safety system specially designed for night time use. It permits the driver to see more details at night if the car is traveling more than 25 miles per hour.
Since the Prius already features advanced car technology, Nuro simply needs to integrate the necessary software to make it a self-driving vehicle for delivery services.
While the delivery vehicles are designed to run completely autonomous they still need to have human drivers to ensure additional safety.