California’s autonomous vehicle specialist Nuro raises $600 million

Autonomous delivery vehicle maker Nuro raised $600 million in its latest funding round, the Silicon Valley-based start-up said, bringing on board Google as an investor.

The funding round was led by Tiger Global Management.

Toyota Motor’s Woven Capital, SoftBank Group’s Vision Fund 1, and Kroger were among other investors.

Nuro, whose R2 unit has no pedals or steering wheel and only room for packages, said it has signed a five-year strategic partnership with Google Cloud to support self-driving simulation and data management.

Self-driving start-ups continue to attract investors as the technology evolves to facilitate their safe usage. Indeed, in June Alphabet’s self-driving unit Waymo raised $2.5 billion.

Google Cloud said it was also looking to help Nuro optimise how it makes deliveries for retailers and other businesses, with the aim of transforming local commerce.

Nuro’s founders, Dave Ferguson and Jiajun Zhu, both worked on Google’s self-driving car project, later spun out as Waymo, before launching Nuro.

Nuro’s R2 has been tested in several cities, including Houston in Texas, Phoenix in Arizona, and Mountain View in California.

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave Nuro approval in February last year to deploy up to 5,000 R2 vehicles on public roads over two years.

The company has not disclosed the number of R2s on the road.

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