Nuro partners with CVS to test autonomous prescription deliveries

In brief: The Covid-19 pandemic has introduced plenty of challenges into our day-to-day lives. Tasks that were once routine, such as making a run to the grocery store, are now more complex and risky than ever. To avoid these headaches, consumers are increasingly relying on delivery services to do the heavy lifting for them (while also boosting safety).

Human-handled grocery delivery services are great for food, clothing, toiletries, and other household necessities, but in the current health climate, they may not work so well for more sensitive payloads, such as prescription medications. Fortunately, that’s where Nuro’s latest partnership with CVS Pharmacy comes in.

For those who don’t know, Nuro is a self-driving vehicle company that develops autonomous delivery solutions for various companies, including the likes of Domino’s, Fry’s, and Kroger. It seems the company is ready to expand beyond food and grocery delivery, and turn its sights toward the health industry.

Starting in June, select residents of Houston, Texas, can begin ordering their prescriptions for delivery through CVS’ website or official Pharmacy app at no cost. Once an order is placed, Nuro’s self-driving fleet of Prius vehicles will transport the medication to an individual’s doorstep within three hours.

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By avoiding the human component in the delivery process, Nuro hopes to reduce security and health risks for CVS customers. Delivery recipients must confirm their identity before they can unlock their delivery from the vehicles, and since humans aren’t performing the hand-off, there’s minimal risk of Covid-19 transmission.

As per the norm for Nuro, this partnership will only use Prius vehicles for a limited time. After a few months of testing, the tech firm will start to phase the cars out and replace them with its own Nuro R2 delivery robots.

We hope Nuro’s first foray into autonomous prescription delivery is successful, and leads to a nationwide service rollout down the line. However, even if this pilot test doesn’t pan out, perhaps UPS’ will — as we reported in April, the shipping company is using its self-flying drones to deliver CVS prescriptions in Florida.

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