A drugstore giant is moving beyond drones in its latest pilot of autonomous delivery.
CVS Health will test autonomous delivery of prescriptions via self-driving vehicles from robotics company Nuro in the Houston market, beginning in June. The company, which has been piloting drone-based delivery of prescription medications since November 2019, will use Nuro’s fleet of autonomous vehicles to deliver prescriptions and essentials to customers.
The pilot program will serve customers across three ZIP codes near Bellaire, Texas. Customers in the area who place prescription orders via CVS.com or the CVS Pharmacy app can choose the autonomous delivery option, and also add other non-prescription items to their order.
To ensure the security of their prescriptions, customers will need to confirm their identification to unlock their delivery when the autonomous vehicle arrives curbside at their home. Deliveries will be free of charge to CVS Pharmacy customers.
“We are seeing an increased demand for prescription delivery,” said Ryan Rumbarger, senior VP 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.”
“Today, we are excited to expand into an entirely new vertical: health,” said Dave Ferguson, Nuro co-founder and president. “Through our partnership with CVS, we hope to make it easier for customers to get medicine, prescriptions, and the other things they need delivered directly to their homes.”
CVS is the latest large retailer to pilot autonomous delivery with Nuro vehicles. In December 2019, Walmart launched a pilot that let customers in Houston opt in to receive deliveries of online grocery orders from self-driving Nuro vehicles. That same month, pizza chain Domino’s began testing Nuro vehicles for opt-in online deliveries at select Houston stores. And Kroger has piloted self-driving deliveries with Nuro vehicles in Houston and Scottsdale, Ariz.