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Chipotle is the latest company to get behind robot cars. Here’s why

Nuro is the autonomous vehicle company that big brands love. With a focus on delivery, Nuro’s cute, driverless vehicle that’s optimized to hold goods has attracted partnerships with Walmart, Kroger, and CVS, along with over $1 billion in funding since 2017.

This week, Chipotle joined the list of Nuro’s backers, investing an undisclosed amount in the company’s latest round of funding.

Nuro has been a golden child of the startup world since 2017. Like many other AV startups, it’s been testing its technologies tentatively over several years to polish them for wider release. The strategy seems to be paying off for Nuro. Its Nuro R2 vehicle has become the first autonomous car approved to operate without a driver on roads across three different states (California, Arizona, and Texas).

But why did a burrito company invest in a robotic delivery company? The short, obvious answer is to deliver burritos. But if you talk to Curt Garner, chief technology officer at Chipotle, about the investment, it’s clear that there’s a longer, more nuanced answer.

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