Uber partners with Serve Robotics for automated delivery service
Uber has teamed up with robotic self-driving vehicle companies Serve Robotics and Motional to pilot an autonomous food delivery service in Los Angeles, California.
Originally announced in December last year, the Motional partnership is the first time Uber has partnered with an autonomous vehicle fleet provider, as well as the first time Motional is getting involved in autonomous delivery. Before, Motional had only focused on robotaxis and secured partnerships with ride-companies Lyft and Via.
The newest and recently announced addition to the team, Serve Robotics, is a San Francisco based company that branched from Uber last year with $13 million in initial funding from Uber, 7-Eleven and other investors. It raised an extra $10 million from Nvidia last March.
Serve Robotics has developed a four-wheel sidewalk delivery robot that can carry up to 50 pounds of merchandise for 25 miles on a single charge.
The robot features Level 4 autonomy, which means it can navigate pavements without any human input using multiple types of sensors to map out its surroundings. The data from the sensors will be turned into driving decisions through the onboard artificial intelligence software that runs on a Nvidia Jetson chip.
Motional is a joint venture between Hyundai and auto-parts maker Aptic PLC. It is currently developing an autonomous version of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 electric SUV that features more than 30 sensors and can detect objects from nearly 1,000 feet away. The SUVs will also be supplied for Uber’s autonomous food delivery initiative and orders will be placed in a “specially designed compartment” that users can unlock on the Uber app.
The announcement came in a recent press release by Uber that listed a suite of new products such as the ability to book trains, coaches, and car rentals through its app and an EV Hub and charging map for drivers with electric vehicles – a welcome addition to the drivers who will be able to rent a Tesla from Uber in 2023.
Subscribe to our Editor's weekly newsletter