Autonomous vehicles (AV) play an increasingly important role in food and parcel deliveries. In early December, Silicon Valley-based startup Nuro announced that it was launching the first commercial autonomous delivery in California. Partnering with 7-Eleven, the company provides the service for residents of Mountain View, where the business is located. According to a blog post from Nuro's co-founder Zhu Jiajun, customers can access the autonomous delivery through 7-Eleven's 7NOW delivery app. Nuro currently offers the service with its Prius vehicles in fully autonomous mode, expecting to replace them with its R2 autonomous cars later.
Autonomous vehicle technology company Motional have entered into a new partnership to launch autonomous food deliveries for Uber customers in Santa Monica, California. Under the initiative, Motional's electric vehicles (EVs) will start delivering specific meal kits from select restaurants on Uber Eats early next year. The collaboration represents Uber's first partnership with an autonomous vehicle fleet provider. Uber Eats US and Canada vice-president and head Sarfraz Maredia said: "We're excited to partner with Motional to test a new kind of delivery for Uber Eats consumers in 2022. "Our consumers and merchant partners have come to expect convenience, reliability and innovation from Uber, and this collaboration represents a huge opportunity to meet, and exceed, those expectations." Motional will deploy its Hyundai IONIQ 5-based robotaxi to deliver food orders from restaurants. The company explained that it has made some modifications to the vehicles to enable autonomous deliveries. It said that this will be the first time that its SAE level four vehicles will be used to make food deliveries. Motional president and CEO Karl Iagnemma said: "Today, Motional enters the autonomous delivery market.
Uber has unveiled plans to trial autonomous'sidewalk robots' to deliver food to people's doorsteps. The US ride-hailing giant announced the idea as part of a raft of new features and services for its customers. These included an option for those in certain cities to specifically request a ride in an electric car, which Uber said was part of its global commitment to becoming a zero-emissions mobility platform by 2040. Comfort Electric is now available in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Dubai, with more cities to come soon. The sidewalk robot concept is one of two autonomous delivery pilot programs being trialled in California.
Uber and autonomous vehicle company Motional announced a partnership today for "autonomous deliveries" through Uber Eats. As you might imagine, there are some caveats. The pilot is slated to launch at some point in "early 2022," though Motional (itself a partnership between Hyundai and Aptiv) would not provide further details on timing. The full array of food options normally available through Uber Eats also won't be available. Instead customers will pick from "a curated set of meal kits from select restaurants."
Greg Nichols covers robotics, AI, and AR/VR for ZDNet. A full-time journalist and author, he writes about tech, travel, crime, and the economy for global media outlets and reports from across the U. Uber Eats is turning to autonomous vehicles in a major market. Along with AV partner Motional, the third-party delivery platform will be launching a new autonomous delivery experience in Santa Monica, California. Deliveries will be conducted in Motional's IONIQ 5 vehicles, which are capable of operating autonomously. Participating restaurants bring packaged orders to the curb and place them inside a locking compartment.