FedEx is expanding its autonomous delivery pilot program in the face of growing competition from Amazon.
The company has signed a multi-year and multi-phase agreement to test out Nuro’s autonomous delivery vehicles. The deal is an extension of a pilot program that originally launched in April last year in the Houston area.
“Working with FedEx—the global leader in logistics—is an incredible opportunity to rethink every aspect of local delivery. This multi-year commitment will allow us to truly collaborate and bring Nuro’s powerful technology to more people in new ways, and eventually reach large-scale deployment,” said Cosimo Leipold, Nuro head of partnerships.
“Our collaboration will enable innovative, industry-first product offerings that will better everyday life and help make communities safer and greener.”
While FedEx is not the first player to have partnered with Nuro, its pilot program is unique as it marks the autonomous delivery company’s expansion into parcel logistics. The program also enables FedEx to explore various logistics use cases such as multi-stop and appointment-based deliveries. Some of the other players that have partnered with Nuro include Chipotle, CVS, Domino’s Pizza and Walmart, Chain Store Age reported.
“FedEx was built on innovation, and it continues to be an integral part of our culture and business strategy,” said Rebecca Yeung, VP, advanced technology and innovation, FedEx Corp.
“We are excited to collaborate with an industry leader like Nuro as we continue to explore the use of autonomous technologies within our operations.”
FedEx’s move to expand its autonomous delivery pilot comes at a time when Amazon is continuing to make efforts to boost its delivery business. Amazon acquired autonomous vehicle manufacturer Zoox in June last year. FedEx and Amazon are also competing on several other fronts, including the use of electric delivery services and offering hosted eCommerce services.