Uber rolls out delivery robots in new market

Cartken delivery robots.
Cartken delivery robots (Source: Cartken).

Uber is bringing robotic food deliveries to an additional state.

The Uber Eats on-demand delivery subsidiary of Uber is expanding 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.

“Alongside our partners at Cartken, we’re thrilled to work with Mosaic’s outstanding merchants to serve such a vibrant community of diners, shoppers, and residents,” said Noah Zych, head of autonomous mobility and delivery at Uber. “With our shared passion for innovative urban design, sustainability, and technology, we believe that robot delivery with Uber Eats is a great fit for Fairfax consumers looking for a fun and convenient way to grab their next meal.”

“Our team at Cartken is excited to further partner with Uber Eats and expand our reach to serve the Fairfax community," said Anjali Jindal Naik, co-founder and COO at Cartken. "Cartken is at an inflection point, where we are rapidly bringing our AI, computer vision, and lidar-less autonomous robots to more places, like Mosaic District, in partnership with Uber Eats.”

“We are excited to partner with Uber Eats and Cartken to bring cutting-edge technology to our community, and confident this innovative service will elevate visitor experience and customer engagement at Mosaic,” said Greg Dercach, VP, property management for Edens.

Uber makes inroads in robotic delivery

 

The new collaboration with Cartken is the latest step in Uber’s rapidly expanding push to deliver food via autonomous vehicles. 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.

The partnership kicked off with deliveries in Houston and Mountain View, Calif. Uber and Nuro plan to expand the service to the greater Bay Area. 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: Uber launches two autonomous delivery pilots]

One involves end-to-end food deliveries for customers in Santa Monica, Calif. using Motional all-electric, self-driving Ioniq 5 “robotaxis.” Uber is also partnering with autonomous sidewalk delivery company Serve Robotics to pilot an on-demand robotic delivery service in Los Angeles. Uber Eats customers in the Los Angeles area are now able to have orders delivered contact-free by zero-emissions Serve rovers.

Serve began as the robotics division of Postmates, which was acquired by Uber in July 2020 for $2.65 billion, and was spun off as an independent company in February 2021, with Uber as an investor.

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.

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