The massive image: Uber has introduced a partnership with driverless car expertise supplier Motional to offer “autonomous” meals deliveries to pick out clients early subsequent 12 months. It is Uber’s first on-road supply partnership with an autonomous supplier, and if all the things goes in accordance with plan, it may signify the primary section of a brand new enterprise mannequin for the ride-hailing and supply firm.
The 2 corporations stated trials will start in early 2022 in Santa Monica, California. Motional will deploy its all-electric Hyundai IONIQ 5-based robotaxis, that are SAE Degree 4 automobiles, for the job full with in-vehicle modifications to accommodate meals supply.
Initially, clients will solely have entry to a curated set of meal kits from choose eating places somewhat than the total array of choices out there by way of the normal Uber Eats service. A Motional spokesperson advised Engadget that the service will launch with security operators current in automobiles, that means it’s not fairly a one hundred pc autonomous operation – a minimum of, not but.
Motional additionally wouldn’t share what number of automobiles it plans to placed on the street, nor do we all know what hours it’ll function or if the self-driving supply automobiles would run in inclement climate like rain or fog.
Uber discovered itself between a rock and a tough place when the pandemic set in and lockdown efforts went into impact. Newly minted CEO Dara Khosrowshahi ensured traders that the corporate had sufficient cash to experience out Covid-19, and began trying to new streams of income to get by way of the outbreak.
That summer season, the corporate bought meals supply service Postmates for $2.65 billion earlier than snapping up alcohol supply service Drizly for $1.1 billion this previous February.