Uber will test ‘automated’ food delivery next year

Uber and self-driving car company Motional announced today partnering for “automated delivery” through Uber Eats. As you can imagine, there are some caveats.

The pilot is expected to launch at some point in “early 2022,” although Motional (itself a partnership between Hyundai and Aptiv) wouldn’t provide further details on the timing. The full range of food options normally available through Uber Eats will also not be available. Instead, customers will choose from “a curated set of eating utensils from select restaurants.”

Nor is this venture going to be truly “droneless.” A spokesperson for Motional told Engadget that “we will roll out the service with safe operators on board.” Delivery of incontinence kits will be limited to Santa Monica, California, where a large portion of Motional’s team works.

Other lingering questions, such as how many Motional vehicles are intended to be put on public roads or what kind of weather they will be allowed to operate in, remain. unanswered.

Under its initial leadership, Uber initially planned to convert its semi-professional taxi drivers into a backup force and then eliminate those costs entirely by investing in self-driving cars. “The reason Uber can be expensive is that you’re paying the other guy in the car,” former CEO Travis Kalanick speak in 2014, “When there’s no other guy in the car, it’s cheaper to take an Uber anywhere.” Six years later the company Sold out its self-driving arm, called Advanced Technologies Group, for Aurora.

Since then, Uber has pursued partnerships with outside self-driving companies, like Waymo. Motional has an ongoing partnership with Uber’s main rival, Lyft, to launch a fleet of autonomous vehicles in 2023.

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Tom Vazquez

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