HOUSTON – Nuro, a robotics company focused on autonomous delivery services, is expected to launch a pilot program this month introducing contactless prescription deliveries in the Houston area, starting with a local CVS.
The company has been operating in Houston for about a year at several stores, including Kroger, for autonomous grocery delivery services. Now, Nuro has partnered with CVS to start a pilot program in Houston that will have autonomous vehicles deliver prescription medications (along with other essential items the customer may need) from CVS.
The pilot program is expected to start this month at the CVS located at 5430 Bissonnet Street in Bellaire. At the beginning of the pilot program, Nuro’s autonomous fleet will be servicing area codes 77401, 77096, 77035. The Nuro team said it had planned to start this service before COVID-19, but the pandemic has increased the need for safe, contactless deliveries. Nuro’s team has one goal.
"Running your errands so that you don't have to," said Sola Lawal, Nuro Product Operations Manager.
Once the pilot program starts, customers in these zip codes can use the CVS Pharmacy app on their phones or the CVS.com website to order their prescription as normal. To get the prescriptions delivered, select the autonomous vehicle delivery option. The pilot program’s delivery service is free to customers. Shoppers were excited about the program.
“It’s a good idea,” customer Kathleen Marr said.
While all pilot programs start with deliveries by Nuro’s autonomous Prius cars, with a safety driver inside to troubleshoot any issues, eventually, Nuro’s little R2 vehicle will make its debut and deliver the prescription within 3 hours.
"There's a lot of people that don't want to get out right now because of Covid. There's a lot of elderly that can't get out and it's just a convenience that would be nice for them," Marr said.
"Contactless delivery is more important today than its ever been, so having our vehicle do this allows for people to be able to get those medication that they need really safely and securely," Lawal said.
Customers can even order other non-prescription items with it at no cost.
Nuro and CVS are still working on dates for the pilot program and just said they are expecting it to start at the Bellaire CVS in June.
“I think that it’s wonderful and that they’re utilizing it in this way--is really good!” Marr said.