With robotaxis an always-on-the-horizon mirage -- and costing billions of dollars to develop and deploy -- automotive companies are seeking quicker paybacks for expensive autonomous technology.
Delivery robots, which use the same sensors, software and manufacturing infrastructure, have become a prime opportunity.
Magna International's announcement earlier this month that it has started building a large fleet of cooler-like, six-wheel robots for autonomous delivery startup Cartken is one example.
Nuro, Starship and Kiwibot have already started pilot programs in several U.S. cities, working with Walmart, CVS and Kroger. Last week Uber Eats announced a partnership with Nuro, which has also worked with Domino's Pizza and FedEx.