Uber is expanding the reach and functionality of its Uber Eats online delivery platform.
The company, which initially expanded from its core rideshare business into third-party online delivery with the launch of Uber Eats in 2015, is introducing several new features to the platform. Group grocery orders on Uber Eats let users invite participants to add their own items to a shared cart, and set deadlines for when to add products, as well as automatically split the bill at most stores.
In addition, the group grocery order feature enables customers to place a recurring grocery order and remind other participants to get their items added each week.
A new video gift messaging option lets customers record a unique video message to accompany a gift, starting with gift cards. Soon, Uber says customers will have the ability to add a video gift message to anything they send via Uber Eats, such as flowers or candy.
Uber also plans to soon expand a new teen account feature, built to help parents and caretakers of 13-to-17-year-olds supervise their rideshare activities, to Uber Eats deliveries. Via Uber Eats teen accounts, parents and caretakers will be able to monitor what teens order for delivery and how much they spend.
Uber makes inroads in robotic delivery
Uber is introducing new customer-facing Uber Eats features alongside a rapidly expanding push to deliver food via autonomous vehicles. This includes the recent expansion of an automated delivery partnership with self-driving robot provider Cartken.
Following a successful pilot of Cartken’s artificial intelligence (AI)-powered sidewalk delivery robots in the Dadeland area of Miami-Dade County, Uber Eats is now performing food deliveries via Cartken robots in Fairfax, Virginia.
Customers at the Mosaic District, a shopping and dining destination owned and operated by Edens, can now order Uber Eats deliveries from select participating retailers.
In September 2022, Uber teamed up with autonomous vehicle manufacturer Nuro to let Uber Eats consumers order meals and goods delivered by Nuro’s zero-occupant autonomous delivery vehicles, which run on public roads and are built specifically to carry food and other goods.
And in May 2022, the company announced it was conducting two separate pilots of two different autonomous delivery vehicles in the Los Angeles area.
[Read more: Is Uber going all in on being an e-commerce platform?]
Uber Eats leverages Uber’s technology and logistics capabilities to partner with 825,000 retailers in more than 11,000 cities globally, with an average delivery time the company says is under 30 minutes.