Uber Launches Robot Food Delivery in Two California Cities

UTC by John K. Kumi · 3 min read
Uber Launches Robot Food Delivery in Two California Cities
Photo: Unsplash

According to the report, the sidewalk robot is powered by “Serve Robotics, a spin-off of delivery company Postmates,” which was acquired by Uber in 2020.

Uber Technologies Inc (NYSE: UBER) has stated in a recent announcement that it launched a pilot food delivery service with autonomous vehicles in two California cities. This means users in Santa Monica and West Hollywood in California will have the privilege of benefiting from one food delivery from an autonomous vehicle and the other from a separate pilot using a sidewalk robot.

According to the report, the sidewalk robot is powered by “Serve Robotics, a spin-off of delivery company Postmates,” which was acquired by Uber in 2020. Also, the initiative of involving an autonomous car pilot is in partnership with Motional, the self-driving joint venture of Hyundai Motor Co and Aptiv PLC. The partnership was earlier announced in December 2021. Motional is a key player in the autonomous driving industry, popularly known for its limited robotaxi service in Singapore in 2016. It also plans to launch a robotaxi service with Lyft in Las Vegas next year. 

This announcement was part of Uber’s annual product event where the latest updates to the app are displayed. For now, the operation of this technology is a little restricted. 

Customers would, therefore, have the option to order food and have it delivered by one of the robots rather than the usual human delivery. Also, a feature has been added to the Uber app to instruct customers on how to retrieve food from the robot after delivery. It is reported that the robot that operates in West Hollywood has a headlight that looks like eyes. Hyundai Sedans will also take care of a bulk of the orders in Santa Monica. It is explained that orders delivered by Hyundai Sedans would be stored in a thermal container in the backseat. Customers would then retrieve their orders from there. It is also expected that robots would make delivery affordable in the long term. According to the company, it will operate at scale with time. 

It is worth noting that the vehicles in both services are monitored by human operators. In its driver app, Uber disclosed that it will introduce a map of electric vehicle charging stations in the US this summer. With its goal of extending this technology to other parts of the world, the company admitted that its biggest challenge in switching to electric vehicles is the charging problems.

In February, it announced a partnership with Plug’n Drive in a bid to help its drivers go electric. According to the company, they have pledged to operate a zero-emission platform by 2040.

“We’ve made a commitment to operate a zero-emission platform globally by 2040, and in Canadian cities with supportive policies—like Montreal and Vancouver—by 2030. One of the ways we are going to achieve this is by helping drivers on the Uber platform go electric,” said Laura Miller, Head of Policy and Communications for Uber Canada. 

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John K. Kumi
Author John K. Kumi

Excellent John K. Kumi is a cryptocurrency and fintech enthusiast, operations manager of a fintech platform, writer, researcher, and a huge fan of creative writing. With an Economics background, he finds much interest in the invisible factors that causes price change in anything measured with valuation. He has been in the crypto/blockchain space in the last five (5) years. He mostly watches football highlights and movies in his free time.

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