Your next Uber Eats meal order may be delivered by a robot (at least if you live in Miami).
Starting Thursday, some Miami residents Thanks to a new partnership with ride-hailing and robotics company Cartken, you can order takeout from Uber Eats to be delivered via sidewalk-roaming autonomous robots.
According to in-app screenshots Uber provided to CNN, the new service will alert customers when food is approaching and direct them to meet a remotely-monitored robot on the sidewalk. The customer can then use their mobile phone to unlock the vehicle and pick up their order from a secure compartment.
Cartken’s six-wheeled robot is equipped with multiple sensors and cameras to help it avoid collisions and choose the least dangerous route. Delivery robots work outdoors as well as indoors.
Food delivery options will initially be available in the Dadeland area of miami-dade countywith plans to expand across the county next year and to other cities.
The announcement is the latest example of Uber partnering with an outside company to deliver futuristic automation technology that was once part of an investor and public pitch. Uber also recently partnered with self-driving technology company Motional to offer self-driving cars in Las Vegas. The move comes two years after Uber sold its self-driving car division amid financial and legal pressure.
In a statement Thursday, Uber’s global head of autonomous mobility and delivery, Noah Zych, called the latest collaboration with Cartken “another significant milestone for our efforts in automation and autonomous technology.” I called.
Through these partnerships, Uber could be moving away from relying on a huge number of independent contractors to pick up and serve passengers. It’s a business model that has caused legal problems for the company in recent years.
Cartken co-founder and CEO Christian Bersch explains how he helps communities by easing traffic congestion and enabling local merchants to increase their delivery capacity through emission-free delivery options. We promoted some of the benefits of our new partnership, including if we could help.
In June, Cartken partnered with Grubhub to deliver robots to several US college campuses. The company’s partnership with Uber is the first to offer an on-demand delivery app outside of college campuses.