CVS and other companies are experimenting with many ways to serve customers who may be reluctant or unable to visit stores due to the Coronavirus pandemic, which has fueled demand for home delivery of everything from groceries to medicines.
Now, Nuro, the autonomous vehicle startup based in Mountain View, California, has joined forces with CVS Pharmacy, one of the nation’s most respected names in healthcare. It will use its small fleet of robots to deliver pharmaceutical products to CVS customers in Houston, Texas (USA).
This first-of-its-kind partnership, which brings Nuro into the health space, will begin testing the service in June that drops prescriptions and other essentials free of charge to some customers in the Houston area.
At first, Nuro will use its fleet of Toyota Prius cars, adapted and equipped with autonomous driving technology, to deliver. Later on, it will use its R2 compact vehicles, created for this purpose. The company will deliver only from a CVS pharmacy as part of its pilot program, before starting to serve other stores.
“We are seeing an increased demand for prescription delivery,” said Ryan Rumbarger, Senior Vice President of Store Operations, CVS Health. “We want to give our customers more choice in how they can quickly access the medications they need when it’s not convenient for them to visit one of our pharmacy locations.“
Customers who place a prescription order through the CVS website or via the CVS Mobile Pharmacy app can choose the autonomous delivery option and add other items to the purchase. These customers will have to confirm their identity to have access to their deliveries at the curb.
“Through our partnership with CVS, we hope to make it easier for customers to get medicine, prescriptions, and the other things they need to be delivered directly to their homes,” said Dave Ferguson, Nuro’s Co-Founder and President.
The Nuro is the first autonomous vehicle operator to receive a federal waiver to produce vehicles driverless mass without traditional parts such as steering wheels and side mirrors. It was also the second company to receive permission to test driverless delivery vehicles on surface streets in California. The pandemic crisis did not affect the startup, as it has always focused exclusively on deliveries.