Uber sold its manufacturing business two years ago and gave up on the idea of producing its own driverless cars, but a recent flurry of alliances has moved the company closer to introducing a fleet of delivery robots and autonomous vehicles.
In collaboration with the California-based sidewalk robot business Cartken, Uber will use six-wheeled delivery robots as part of a pilot operation in the Dadeland commercial neighborhood of Miami.
Cartken’s robots had previously been stationed on university campuses as well. If the initiative is a success, it may rock the gig economy and send seismic shocks through its huge ecosystem; but, if logistical difficulties aren’t resolved, it may fail.
You might get the chance to ride in an all-electric, self-driving Uber from Boston-based Motional, a Hyundai-backed firm, if you visit CES, the world’s most important tech event.
The businesses will provide millions of autonomous rides over the Uber network over the course of a 10-year partnership. A wider expansion will follow implementation in Las Vegas and happen in Los Angeles. Motional’s Hyundai IONIQ 5 robotaxis have been delivering food through Uber Eats in Santa Monica as part of a pilot project since May.
Miami is getting special attention from Uber as it introduces sidewalk delivery robots with Cartken’s AI-powered carriers. Currently, the business offers meal delivery services like Grub Hub across college campuses. Its first collaboration outside of colleges is with Uber Eats.
In West Hollywood, Serve Robotics delivers food on the street for Uber Eats. It was separated from Uber last year after purchasing Post mates for $2.65 billion in 2020.
A 10-year agreement revealed at Uber’s Go/Get conference in May would result in the initial deployment of Nuro in Mountain View, California, and Houston, Texas. The business is the first to do so, having been granted an autonomous deployment authorization by the California DMV.
The importance of shared autonomous vehicles in the future of transportation and Uber’s ambition to be the platform that enables customers to travel anywhere and receive anything are highlighted by these partnerships, according to Noah Zych, global leader for autonomous mobility & delivery at Uber. Although Lyft is likewise moving in this direction, the way ahead is not without difficulties.
In San Francisco, Cruise Automation, a division of General Motors, started providing driverless trips last year. By the end of the year, the company hopes to have 5,000 driverless vehicles driving without a safety driver. Currently, there are roughly 100 autonomous vehicles in operation. The SFMTA’s worries that such a project may overcrowd municipal roadways led the city to take a deeper look at its plans.
A few times an empty robotaxi has been stopped for a traffic infraction, and the police have had no idea what to do with it. According to Cruise, police agencies are given instructions and a specific phone line to call in certain situations.
Furthermore, the market is still in its infancy and is taking place in a time of rising prices and economic uncertainty.
Other noteworthy competitors include Zoox, which Amazon will purchase for $1.2 billion in 2020, and Aurora, which went public last year after Uber spun it off. Apple just gave up on its plans to create a Level 5 autonomous vehicle in favor of a Level 4 vehicle that still requires human interaction.
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