Automotive

This Cute Delivery Robot Is Here To Steal Your Heart And Your Job


A render of the Nuro R3 robot with a pedestrian airbag on the front.

The Nuro R3 looks like it’s hiding from something.
Illustration: Nuro

Robots are here to take over our world, and instead of making them look scary and imposing, you know, like you’d expect froma device that’s threatening our way of life, designers are making them appear adorable. Case in point: the next-generation delivery bot from Nuro, which now adds a pedestrian airbag to further enhance the illusion that our robo-overlords will be super cute.

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The Chipotle-backed robotics company has premiered the third iteration of its delivery robot, called the R3. The company says the robot comes with new safety features, better autonomous driving tech and improved storage space when compared to the outgoing model. Oh, and it’s as cute as a button!

The main talking point on this new ‘bot is that pedestrian airbag up front. In a blog about the new robot, Nuro took the very sterile stance that the external pedestrian airbag was “optimized to reduce the force of impact and number of injuries in the event of collision.”

But we know the real reason is to make this adorable robot look like it’s hiding behind a cushion while watching a scary movie. It’s all part of a plan to make us welcome these robots into our lives before they steal our hearts and our jobs.

And I feel like this plan is working.


A render of the Nuro delivery robot with two cargo bays.

The Nuro R3 can now keep your pizza hot and ice cream cold.
Illustration: Nuro

But it isn’t just a cute new face — there’s more newness packed into this little robot. Nuro said it has made a host of other changes across the board to encourage delivery firms to upgrade to the new model.

The firm said it has increased its cargo capacity so the R3 can carry twice as much stuff as the outgoing R2.

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Additionally, the company has developed a set of modular compartments that can be inserted into the robots. These allow for heating and cooling of different deliveries and offer a range of temperatures from 22ºF to 116ºF.

While it whisks your fresh food delivery along, the new robot will also be capable of speeds up to 45mph thanks to its electric motors.

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Instead of focusing on the complex issues of autonomous passenger vehicles, Nuro has quietly been making strides in the field with its self-driving delivery robots. As well as a partnership with FedEx to develop last-mile delivery solutions, the firm has also been granted approval for testing in California. Nuro also partnered with Chinese electric vehicle maker BYD to assemble the adorable robots.

Now, the firm is hoping its new ‘bot will encourage more companies to go autonomous for their delivery fleets. As such, it’s in the process of constructing a new factory and test site in Nevada, where the R3 will go into production.

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