By Lisa Baertlein

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – CVS Health Corp and unmanned vehicle delivery Nuro in June will start testing a service that drops prescriptions and other essentials free of charge to some customers in the Houston area, the companies said on Thursday.

CVS and other companies are experimenting with myriad ways to serve customers who may be reluctant or unable to visit stores due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has fueled demand for home delivery of everything from groceries and medicine to patio furniture and gardening supplies.

Mountain View, California-based Nuro said in a blog post that the service in Houston will launch with its autonomous Prius fleet and then switch in subsequent months to R2, its low-speed, custom-built delivery bot.

The program will serve customers near a CVS store in Bellaire, Texas. Those customers will need to confirm their identification to gain access to their curbside deliveries, the companies said.

“We want to give our customers more choice in how they can quickly access the medications they need,” said Ryan Rumbarger, senior vice president of store operations for CVS Health.

The deal marks the first health-related deal for Nuro, which has tested grocery delivery with supermarket giant Kroger Co in Houston.

CVS also is testing drone deliveries with United Parcel Service Inc’s Flight Forward division.

(Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by Paul Simao)