Uber set to begin autonomous food delivery in 2022

A digital rendering of an autonomous delivery vehicle used by Uber Eats.

Written by James Shea

Uber Eats is planning to start autonomous food deliveries sometime in early 2022. The company has partnered with driverless technology company Motional.

The food will be delivered in modified Hyundai IONIQ 5 vehicles and take place in California. The project will be the first time Motional autonomous technology has been utilized to deliver food.

“Motional enters the autonomous delivery market,” Motional president and CEO Karl Iagnemma said. “We’re proud that our first delivery partner is Uber and are eager to begin using our trusted driverless technology to offer efficient and convenient deliveries to customers in California. We’re confident this will be a successful collaboration with Uber and see many long-term opportunities for further deploying Motional’s technology across the Uber platform.”

Autonomous delivery is being tried by multiple companies. Many in the food industry believe human-based food delivery is an inefficient way to deliver food. Dominos has partnered with autonomous robot company Nuro and is testing autonomous pizza delivery. El Pollo Loco is working with Flytrex, an autonomous drone delivery company.

“We’re excited to partner with Motional to test a new kind of delivery for Uber Eats consumers in 2022,” said Sarfraz Maredia, VP and head of Uber Eats in the US & Canada. “Our consumers and merchant partners have come to expect convenience, reliability and innovation from Uber, and this collaboration represents a huge opportunity to meet —and exceed— those expectations.”

Headquartered in Boston, Mass., Motional was formed in 2020 as a joint venture between Hyundai Motor Group and Aptiv, a mobility technology company with an expertise in autonomous vehicles. The company began testing autonomous vehicles in Las Vegas in 2021 and is working with Lyft on an autonomous taxi service.

The effort is the first partnership with an autonomous vehicle company for Uber food deliveries.

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