Founders and investors have dedicated a lot of time and even more money to developing autonomous vehicle (AV) technology over the past 15 years, a trend that shows no sign of letting up any time soon. Companies like Cruise, Waymo and Zoox have spent years developing fully driverless autonomous cars — with a focus on moving people.
And while it’s still a long road before driverless cars become a common sight in cities and towns across the U.S. and beyond, Nuro, the California-based AV behemoth that hit an $8.6 billion valuation last year, may soon roll out its fleet of autonomous delivery vehicles. It’s the first company to receive all of the necessary permits to operate a driverless system commercially — meaning it can charge money for its services within the state.
That’s a huge deal, but it’s just one reason why we’re thrilled that Jiajun Zhu (JZ), Nuro’s co-founder and CEO, will join us for a 1:1 fireside chat at TC Sessions: Mobility 2022 in San Mateo on May 18-19.
Prior to founding Nuro, JZ served as a principal software engineer at Google and was a founding team member of the company’s self-driving car project (now known as Waymo). He led the project’s perception team and helped build and lead their simulation efforts. JZ also holds more than 100 patents.
You can expect a wide-ranging interview covering Nuro’s earliest days, the company’s path to commercialization, how JZ, and co-founder Dave Ferguson, navigated those first years, landed funding and brokered partnerships with big-name players.
We’ll dig into why Nuro bet on delivering packages instead of people and get the lowdown on the status of its new 100,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Nevada — and the company’s plan to build a product-testing facility on 74 acres of land at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Nuro has partnered with multiple high-profile players — including 7-Eleven, CVS Pharmacies, Domino’s, FedEx, Kroger grocery stores and Walmart. We wonder what it takes to bag such big-name game, and who else might Nuro bring on board in the not-so-distant future?
Naturally, we’ll try to suss out the self-driving delivery service’s roadmap and get JZ’s insider’s perspective on industry consolidation trends, his take on whether sidewalk robots will survive in the face of road-ready competition and — for all the founders in the house — ask JZ to share just some of the lessons he’s learned creating and building a successful business.
Don’t miss what’s sure to be a fascinating, informative conversation with Nuro’s Jiajun Zhu at TC Session: Mobility 2022.
TC Session: Mobility 2022 breaks through the hype and goes beyond the headlines to discover how merging technology and transportation will affect a broad swath of industries, cities and the people who work and live in them. Register today and reserve your seat before prices increase!