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Uber Eats and Nuro will initially conduct tests in Houston, Texas, and Mountain View, California. And further they will expand their operations to other regions.
On Thursday, September 8, Uber Technologies Inc reported that it has partnered with Nuro, a startup that specializes in autonomous delivery vehicles. The Uber Eats division is planning to test food delivery using unmanned vehicles in some of the US locations.
Cooperation of Uber Eats and Nuro
Last mile autonomous delivery has been the key area of focus for food delivery companies. It has picked up, particularly after the COVID-19 pandemic after which consumers have frequently ordered meals online. The two companies have signed a 10-year commercial deal. Uber Eats and Nuro will initially conduct tests in Houston, Texas, and Mountain View, California. They would eventually expand the operations to other regions.
Uber Eats is not the first company that Nuro has been partnering with. Over the last few years, Uber Eats has landed partnerships with other high-profile companies such as Kroger and Walmart. However, the latest deal with Uber will certainly bolster Nuro’s position in the nascent automobile vehicle industry. Nuro has also secured all the necessary approvals and licenses to operate in different jurisdictions. Speaking on the development, Cosimo Leipold, head of partnerships at Nuro, said:
“We’ll get a really good representative sample of where demand needs to be and how it is shaped throughout the day and throughout the week. And then, in turn, that not only obviously has benefits for the business, but it also allows us to be very focused in deciding and developing together alongside Uber, where do we really need to be developing our services and where to work? Where can we get the most bang for our buck, so to speak, in terms of AV development, and in terms of capacity and volume that’s going to come through the system?”
Not Replacing Human Gig Workers
Noah Zych, global head of autonomous mobility and delivery at Uber said that Nuro bots won’t replace human gig workers for food pickup and delivery. Instead, they would strategically use autonomous vehicles where it makes more sense, said Zych.
However, Uber Eats will be charging the customers no less for delivery through Nuro bots. One area where customers can save less is that the Nuro bots won’t take any tips. Also, customers won’t be knowing whether it’s a human gig worker or a Nuro bot delivering their food. In case Uber Eats preselects the tip option and Nuro delivers the food, the customers will get a refund.