Autonomous vehicle company Nuro has unveiled its third-generation self-driving electric delivery vehicle in partnership with BYD North America.

Simply called Nuro, it's described as the most advanced zero-occupant vehicle designed by the company to date. With the new model, the Mountain View, California-based startup hopes to scale its services to millions of people across the country.

Nuro’s third-generation vehicle is designed to carry more goods—it offers twice the cargo volume of its predecessor—and enable more deliveries thanks to a higher top speed of 45 mph (72 km/h). Its compartments can hold a combined 27 cubic feet (0.76 cubic meters) of stuff, which equates to about 24 bags of groceries. The four-wheel robot can handle  almost 500 lbs (226 kg).

In addition, it features modular inserts to customize storage and new temperature-controlled compartments to keep goods warm or cool, with a range of temps from 22ºF to 116ºF (-5.5ºC to 46ºC).

Gallery: Nuro third-generation self-driving delivery vehicle

The vehicle is also designed to be safer for other road users, particularly pedestrians and cyclists. Safety enhancements include a front external airbag to protect pedestrians in case of a crash, as well as a multi-modal sensing suite, including cameras, radars, lidar and thermal cameras enabling a 360-degree view of the surroundings.

It also helps that Nuro is approximately 20% narrower than average passenger cars, giving bicyclists and pedestrians more room to maneuver alongside it. 

The self-driving delivery robot will be produced in a supplier partnership with BYD North America and completed at Nuro's new $40 million end-of-line manufacturing facility and closed-course test track in southern Nevada. 

BYD will assemble globally sourced hardware components for the vehicle platforms while Nuro will complete the final steps of manufacturing and make the autonomous vehicles ready for deployment. 

Nuro's southern Nevada facilities are expected to be fully operational this year, allowing the company to build and test tens of thousands of delivery vehicles per year. The company expects to create an initial 250 highly skilled career opportunities. Construction on the manufacturing facility officially started in November 2021.

On a related note, Nuro says it will use 100% renewable energy for all vehicle charging and facilities for the first time starting this month. 

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