Uber offers food delivery with autonomous cars, robots

Uber Technologies has launched pilot food delivery services with autonomous vehicles in two cities in California, the United States.
Uber Eats network
Uber Technologies will be adding electric vehicle charging stations into its global driver app, Uber Technologies said at Uber’s annual product event.

Uber announced one food delivery service using autonomous cars, and a separate pilot using sidewalk robots. Both services are available to Uber Eats users in Santa Monica and West Hollywood in California, and consumers will have the ability to opt out of the programs.

The autonomous car pilot is in collaboration with Motional, the self-driving joint venture of Hyundai Motor and Aptiv, and was initially announced in December.

Uber said the sidewalk robots are provided by Serve Robotics, a spin-off of delivery company Postmates, which Uber acquired in 2020.

The vehicles in both services are actively monitored by human operators, Uber said.  It will be some time before this technology is operated at scale.

Uber also said it was launching a map of electric vehicle charging stations in its driver app in the U.S. this summer, and later worldwide, in an effort to promote drivers switching to a battery-powered vehicle.

Uber, which aims to have only electric vehicles on its platform in the United States, Canada and Europe by 2030, said charging was one of drivers’ biggest obstacles to switching to EVs.

Uber Technologies said it was launching an option this summer to rent party and coach buses, and passenger vans through its U.S. app in collaboration with rental service US Coachways.

Uber Technologies recently reported that its Gross Bookings grew 35 percent to $26.4 billion in Q1 2022, with Mobility Gross Bookings of $10.7 billion (+58 percent) and Delivery Gross Bookings of $13.9 billion (+12 percent). Trips during the quarter grew 18 percent to 1.71 billion, or approximately 19 million trips per day on average. Uber Technologies revenue grew 136 percent to $6.9 billion in Q1.