Published on January 22nd, 2022 | by Amirul Mukminin


BYD, Nuro Join Forces To Develop Driverless Delivery Vehicle

The new autonomous delivery vehicle will feature greater payload and new technologies

BYD North America is working with a California-based autonomous vehicle startup called Nuro to develop its third-generation all-electric delivery vehicle with self-driving capabilities.

The yet-to-be-named vehicle is said to come with compartments that offers a generous 760 litres of space – twice the cargo volume of the outgoing R2 model. It can withstand a maximum payload of about 226 kg, which should be enough to accommodate large amounts of household items.

On top of that, the vehicle is also equipped with a host of new technologies including modular inserts to customise storage and temperature-controlled compartments to keep goods warm or cool. Reports claim that it can reach a decent top speed of 72 km/h.

Safety-wise, the Nuro gets an external airbag for pedestrian safety, a multi-modal sensing suite that enables a 360-degree view thanks to the use of cameras, radars, Lidar and thermal cameras.

There’s no indicative timeline for its arrival but under this partnership, BYD is tasked to provide all the necessary hardware (battery, electric motors and electronics) and assemble the driverless electric delivery vehicle at its Lancaster plant. Meanwhile, Nuro will complete the manufacturing process by installing and testing the autonomy systems at its new facility in southern Nevada.

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BYD Co., Ltd. announced its partnership with leading autonomous vehicle company Nuro to begin producing the company’s third-generation electric autonomous delivery vehicle. The partnership is expected to scale Nuro’s more affordable, eco-friendly, and convenient services to millions of people across the country.

“BYD will leverage the manufacturing capacity of our Lancaster plant by finishing assembly of globally sourced hardware components to support Nuro and bring more jobs to the community,” said Stella Li, Executive Vice President of BYD Co. Ltd. and President of BYD North America, “Together we will build this autonomous delivery vehicle, with the mutual goal of creating a safer environment on streets across the United States.”

Today’s announcement follows Nuro’s $600 million Series D funding round which closed in Q4 2021 and was led by Tiger Global Management with participation from other investors.

Combining both partners’ advanced technology, Nuro’s third-generation autonomous delivery vehicle will feature greater payload and new safety technologies. With twice the cargo volume of Nuro’s current R2 model, the automotive production grade vehicle will also feature modular inserts to customize storage and new temperature-controlled compartments to keep goods warm or cool. Safety enhancements include an external airbag to further improve safety for pedestrians outside the vehicle, as well as a multi-modal sensing suite, including cameras, radars, lidar, and thermal cameras, creating a redundant 360-degree view of the world.

Nuro was founded in 2016 by Jiajun Zhu and Dave Ferguson, former principal engineers of Google’s self-driving car team. Specializing in developing zero-occupant vehicles designed specifically for transporting goods and not passengers, Nuro has launched two generations of autonomous vehicles, introduced delivery service with industry leaders including Domino’s, Kroger, and 7-Eleven, and announced a multi-year partnership with FedEx.

“BYD is one of the largest OEM networks of electric vehicles in the world, and we are thrilled to partner with them to help us move one step closer to scaled commercial operations,” said Jiajun Zhu, Nuro co-founder and CEO. “We look forward to transforming the hardware components of BYD’s globally sourced electric vehicle platform into innovative autonomous vehicles capable of operating on public roads at our new facility here in America. Through our partnership with BYD, we plan to produce autonomous vehicles at scale that can improve road safety, air quality, and overall access to goods.”

As a leader in the NEV industry, BYD has innovated rich technologies in the field of electrification. In this project, BYD is jointly working with Nuro on vehicle development, and is responsible for vehicle manufacturing and initial vehicle testing, and provides hardware like the Blade Battery, electric motors, electronic controls, and displays for human-machine interaction. Nuro integrates technologies such as autonomous driving, control modules and sensors. BYD will finish assembly of the hardware platform at its Lancaster plant in the United States using globally sourced components. Nuro will then complete the vehicle manufacturing process by installing and testing the autonomy systems that will make the platform capable of operation at the company’s new facilities in southern Nevada.

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