May 16, 2022
Driverless technology provider Motional has announced teaming up with Uber to launch autonomous deliveries for Uber Eats customers in Santa Monica, Calif. Motional will use all-electric IONIQ 5 vehicles that operate autonomously to conduct end-to-end food deliveries.
The two companies announced a partnership last December, providing for the first on-road autonomous vehicle pilot on the Uber Eats network, and Motional’s entry into the autonomous delivery market. The companies said they see an opportunity for AVs to benefit the on-demand delivery space by providing safe, cost efficient, and reliable deliveries.
“Autonomous delivery signifies the next phase of Motional’s commercial roadmap,” said Abe Ghabra, the chief operating officer at Motional. “This service will provide the learnings and experience needed to make Motional the trusted AV provider for on-demand delivery networks. We’re proud to partner with Uber on this important milestone and begin introducing Uber Eats customers to autonomous technology.”
The two companies said they look forward to learning from the service and receiving customer feedback to develop an automated delivery model that could quickly scale to more areas across Los Angeles and in other cities. They said the goal is to create the groundwork for future commercial activities between Motional and Uber.
“At Uber, we’re always looking for ways to use new technology to help consumers go anywhere and get anything,” said Noah Zych, global general manager for Uber’s autonomous mobility and delivery business. “We’re thrilled to begin piloting with Motional in California and are eager to see how their promising autonomous technology will begin to change how people and goods move throughout the world for the better.”
While Motional said its IONIQ 5 vehicles have been used to move passengers, this is the first time they will be used to transport commercial goods. Motional said its teams spent months studying every touch point between the restaurant and end-customer, conducting extensive testing in the Los Angeles area.
Participating merchants will receive a notification when the AV arrives, meet the vehicle at the designated pickup location, and place the order in a specially designed compartment in the back seat. When the order arrives, a customer will receive an alert, securely unlock the vehicle door via the Uber Eats app, and collect their order from the back seat.
For more details on Motional and its technologies, visit its website here.