Nuro, a delivery robotics startup, announced a partnership with CVS Pharmacy to test prescription deliveries in the Houston market. In June, the company will use its fleet of autonomous vehicles to transport prescriptions and essential items to CVS customers, according to a company press release.
As part of the pilot, customers in three different zip codes in Houston can order prescriptions and other items via the CVS Pharmacy app or website, select the autonomous delivery option and confirm their identity to retrieve their order, the company said.
Nuro noted in a Medium post that its autonomous Prius vehicles will deliver orders to CVS customers within three hours for free during the initial pilot program.
The CVS Pharmacy partnership comes as Nuro makes headway in the autonomous vehicles market. In February, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration granted the company a temporary exemption from some federal requirements on low-speed driverless vehicles. And in April, the California Department of Motor Vehicles permitted the startup to run two self-driving vehicles in the Bay Area without a safety driver present.
Nuro noted in its Medium post that more than 76% of people in the U.S. live within five miles of a CVS Pharmacy location. Back in March, the drugstore chain acquired 99 Schnucks locations, further expanding its physical store footprint.
"We are seeing an increased demand for prescription delivery," Ryan Rumbarger, senior vice president of store operations for CVS Health, said in a statement. "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."
The Nuro collaboration is CVS' most recent effort to expand its technological offerings. The drugstore chain partnered with UPS Flight Forward in late April to transport prescriptions with drones to The Villages, Florida, the nation's largest retirement community.
CVS isn't the only retailer exploring how to safely and conveniently serve its customers. Costco recently partnered with Instacart to deliver prescriptions. Rite Aid also recently partnered with Instacart to deliver health care and grocery items. In early May, Walgreens introduced an "order ahead" feature, which allows customers to order their health and wellness items in advance and pick them up via drive-thru.