CVS Pharmacy is testing self-driving vehicles for medication delivery

Nuro, which was founded by two ex-Google engineers, will use its fleet of autonomous vehicles to deliver prescriptions and essentials to CVS Pharmacy customers. (Nuro/CVS Health)

CVS Health began testing drone delivery last year. Now, the company is moving on to try self-driving vehicles.

The pharmacy retail giant is working with autonomous vehicle startup Nuro to test prescription delivery in the Houston market.

Nuro, which was founded by two ex-Google engineers, will use its fleet of autonomous vehicles to deliver prescriptions and essentials to CVS Pharmacy customers. The deliveries will start this month and will come at no extra charge to CVS customers in Houston.

“We are seeing an increased demand for prescription delivery,” said Ryan Rumbarger, senior vice president for store operations at CVS Health. “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.”

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This marks a shift for Nuro, which has focused on grocery and food delivery in Arizona and Texas.

“Today, we are excited to expand into an entirely new vertical: health,” said Dave Ferguson, Nuro’s co-founder and president, in a statement.“Through our partnership with CVS, we hope to make it easier for customers to get medicine, prescriptions, and the other things they need delivered directly to their homes.”

The pilot program will serve customers across three zip codes near one CVS Pharmacy location in Houston suburb Bellaire.

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Customers in the pilot area who are placing prescription orders via CVS.com or the CVS Pharmacy app have the option to choose delivery by autonomous delivery and can add other nonprescription items to their order.

Nuro began making driverless deliveries to the public in 2018. The company has raised more than $1 billion in financing from investors including Softbank and Greylock.

CVS has been exploring using new technologies to deliver products to customers. In October, the company announced it was working with UPS to use drones to deliver prescriptions and retail products to patient's homes.