The future of driverless driving looks like a giant toaster with a funny hat.
That’s an approximation of a new autonomous vehicle unveiled Tuesday by Nuro, a Silicon Valley startup that’s been cryptic about its business plan since it launched about 18 months ago. Nuro’s shiny, minimalist appliance on wheels doesn’t have doors or windows to speak of, because it will be carrying packages—not people.
As every major automaker and dozens of tech companies race to replace drivers in Uber cars and taxi fleets, Nuro is ignoring humans altogether and steering for Amazon.com Inc., United Parcel Service Inc. and any retailer looking to build its e-commerce business. “We realized we could make it possible to deliver anything, anytime, anywhere,” said co-founder Dave Ferguson. “We like to call it a local teleportation service.”