Uber Eats launches robotic delivery

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A Serve delivery robot crosses the street. / Photo courtesy of Serve Robotics

Some Uber Eats customers will soon be having their lunch off a robot rather than a human delivery man.

That’s because the food delivery giant plans to enlist autonomous vehicles to transport some orders to Los Angeles starting early next year.

Uber is partnering with Serve Robotics to make this happen. Serve was previously part of Postmates, the delivery company Uber acquired in November. Uber then separated Serve as an independent company and took an undisclosed stake in it.

Founded in 2017, Serve’s autonomous rovers have made tens of thousands of deliveries to Los Angeles and San Francisco. Four-wheeled carts run on the sidewalk and can cross the street, and have a delivery radius of 3 miles. A restaurant employee loads food into their compartment, which the customer can access by entering a code on a touchscreen. Uber is the company’s primary business partner.

Robot delivery will be allocated to Uber Eats customers based on availability and location. Companies are still working out the details of the fees associated with each order, a spokesperson for Serve said.

The spokesperson declined to reveal how many robots would be on the streets for Uber Eats next year, but said: “it goes without saying that Uber Eats represents a lot of deliveries. The company is the second-largest food delivery provider in the United States, accounting for more than a quarter of all sales in September, according to data company Second Measure.

Robots are seen as a way to make delivery more efficient, affordable, and sustainable, and they’ve been gaining traction all year round. At the end of last month, digital catering company C3 said it was using Coco robots to deliver food to Los Angeles, and ghost cooking companies Kitchen United and Reef were also testing it, along with many chains. of restaurants.

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