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06/15/2021

FedEx takes Amazon competition to autonomous delivery

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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In a move that was probably inevitable, FedEx is launching a three-year pilot of self-driving delivery vehicles.

The parcel delivery giant is entering a multi-year, multi-phase agreement to test  Nuro autonomous delivery vehicle within its operations.  The collaboration launched in April 2021 with a pilot program across the Houston area. 

Retailers including Walmart, Domino’s Pizza, Chipotle Mexican Grill, and CVS have all tested Nuro technology. However, the FedEx pilot marks Nuro’s expansion into parcel logistics, while enabling FedEx to explore various use cases for on-road autonomous vehicle logistics, including multi-stop and appointment-based deliveries. 

FedEx has been actively competing with Amazon in everything from electric delivery vehicles to providing hosted e-commerce services. A Morgan Stanley analyst predicted FedEx would eventually have to increase its autonomous delivery presence when Amazon purchased autonomous vehicle manufacturer Zoox in June 2020

“FedEx was built on innovation, and it continues to be an integral part of our culture and business strategy,” said Rebecca Yeung, VP, advanced technology and innovation, FedEx Corp. “We are excited to collaborate with an industry leader like Nuro as we continue to explore the use of autonomous technologies within our operations.”

“Working with FedEx—the global leader in logistics—is an incredible opportunity to rethink every aspect of local delivery. This multi-year commitment will allow us to truly collaborate and bring Nuro’s powerful technology to more people in new ways, and eventually reach large-scale deployment,” said Cosimo Leipold, Nuro head of partnerships. “Our collaboration will enable innovative, industry-first product offerings that will better everyday life and help make communities safer and greener.”