Uber will launch driverless food deliveries in California in 2022

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Uber will launch driverless food deliveries in California in 2022
Motional's all-electric Hyundai IONIQ 5-based robotaxi will be making autonomous deliveries for Uber starting 2022.Uber & Motional
  • Uber is pushing forward in the driverless technology space with a new program that will roll out early next year.
  • The program will introduce a fleet of Motional self-driving vehicles to make Uber Eats deliveries in the Santa Monica area.

Uber plans to launch driverless food deliveries in California starting next year.

The ride share company announced a partnership with global driverless technology company Motional on Thursday, implementing Motional's all-electric vehicles to deliver orders to Uber Eats users starting in 2022.

The pilot program will deliver meal kits from select restaurants on Uber Eats app around the Santa Monica area of Los Angeles, the company said in a press release. Motional is providing Uber its next-generation, all-electric Hyundai IONIQ 5-based robotaxi with built-in modifications for autonomous deliveries, the release said.

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This partnership marks Uber's first-ever on-road partnership with an autonomous vehicle technology company. The self-driving technology industry grows more competitive as AV companies, like Tesla, Zoox, and Waymo, continue to test — and struggle with — their self-driving capabilities, while delivery companies like Uber Eats attempt to capitalize on the growing space.

"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," Sarfraz Maredia, VP and Head of Uber Eats in the US & Canada, said in the press release.

Motional, a joint enterprise between Hyundai Moto Group and auto supplier Aptiv, also makes its first venture into driverless delivery with the Uber partnership. However, the company said in November it was partnering with Uber competitor, Lyft, on a driverless robotaxi program in Las Vegas expected to launch in 2023.

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Uber previously looked into developing a fleet of autonomous taxis through its own self-driving car division, ATG, but ultimately sold the division to autonomous vehicle startup Aurora in late 2020 following reports of obstacles in its self-driving research program, including a deadly crash, team issues, and flailing technology.

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