Following the partnership announced in late 2021, Motor began end-to-end food deliveries for Uber Eats in Southern California using stand-alone IONIQ 5 robotaxi electric carriers. The pilot program marks the first stand-alone deliveries for Motional Robotics and the first stand-alone vehicles used in the Uber Eats network.
Motional is a developer specializing in autonomous control technology based in Boston. It exists as a joint venture between Hyundai Motor Group and Aptiv – specialists in advanced safety, electrification and vehicle connectivity.
We first covered Motional when it announced the expansion of its office in Santa Monica, California, which coincided with a public road test of its next-generation robot taxi in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. agreement with Lyft.
Shortly thereafter, the audience got a first look Motional stand-alone robot taxi built with Hyundai IONIQ 5 EV. Motional has also completed a fully autonomous cross-country move in the United States, in addition to 100,000 public trips as it prepares for commercial passenger travel in 2023.
However, before that Motional is already studying the use of its technology for autonomous food delivery in partnership with Uber Eats, a subsidiary of competitor Lyft Uber. ($ UBER).
Uber Eats offline delivery is a natural step for Motional
Motional shared details of its initial stand-alone pilot program with Uber Eats press release today. The program will begin near the office in Santa Monica, California. The company launched unmanned food delivery less than six months after Motional and Uber Eats announced a partnership combine technologies to study stand-alone supplies.
To begin with, the pilot program will allow both companies to receive feedback from customers to jointly develop a stand-alone food delivery model that could eventually be scaled across Los Angeles and other cities. COO Motional Abe Gabra explained:
Standalone delivery means the next stage of the commercial roadmap Motional. This service will provide the training and experience needed to make Motional a reliable AV provider for on-demand delivery networks. We are proud to work with Uber at this important milestone and are beginning to introduce Uber Eats customers to standalone technologies.
Because until now, Motional’s autonomous control technology has focused on passenger transport, its IONIQ 5 robot taxi had to be changed to support food delivery. The company shared that its team spent months exploring every point of contact between pickup restaurant and delivery customers to ensure successful trips.
Participating merchants who receive Uber Eats orders will be notified when a standalone EV is out. They can then place a customer order in a specially designed compartment located in the back seat of the IONIQ 5.
When the EV approaches the customer’s location, it will also receive a signal to approach the vehicle. They can then unlock EV from the Uber Eats app and get an order. Sorry, but you have to leave your apartment to get Uber Eats if it is delivered in standalone EV.
Uber sees autonomous vehicles playing a long-term role in several use cases on its transport platform, and plans to use partnerships, such as between Motional and Uber Eats, to help accelerate the technology and its potential.
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