A Toaster on Wheels to Deliver Groceries? Self-Driving Tech Tests Practical Uses

Last Thursday morning in the desert town of Scottsdale, Ariz., a tiny robotic car turned onto a neighborhood street and pulled up to a home with a Spanish-tiled roof and synthetic grass in the front yard.

Not even half the size of a Volkswagen Beetle, the toylike vehicle had no driver and no passengers. Instead, it held six bags of groceries from the Fry’s Food Store down the road. One observer oohed and aahed over how cute the car seemed.

Designed by a start-up called Nuro, the vehicle was making a test run as part of a partnership with Fry’s on an autonomous delivery service. Starting this week, Nuro said, two of these small, electric cars will chug along local streets at no faster than 25 miles an hour to deliver groceries to nearby homes.