Uber signed a 10-year partnership with Nuro, a California-based electric delivery robot developer, to begin autonomous food deliveries starting in California and Texas. It’s the biggest step any U.S.-based food delivery service has taken toward introducing unmanned deliveries at scale.
The multi-year, multiple market partnership will first begin with autonomous food deliveries in Nuro’s home city of Mountain View, California, as well as Houston and other key markets to be announced at a later date.
Uber Eats consumers will be able to order meals and goods delivered by Nuro’s zero-occupant autonomous delivery vehicles, which run on public roads and are built specifically to carry food and other goods. The partnership will kick off this fall with deliveries in Texas and California. Uber and Nuro plan to expand the service to the greater Bay Area.
“Nuro and Uber share a vision in which technology can make everyday life just a little bit easier,” said Noah Zych, global head of autonomous mobility and delivery at Uber. “Nuro’s distinctive autonomous vehicles are a great match for the Uber platform, and this partnership will bring a compelling combination of innovation alongside the convenience, affordability and reliability our customers and merchants have come to expect.”
The partnership highlights the rapidly growing potential for last-mile autonomous delivery of meals, groceries, and other goods and opens up autonomous delivery technology to Uber Eats merchants/restaurants of all sizes. The companies said it also serves as an opportunity for Uber and Nuro to join forces to support local businesses and strengthen local commerce.
“Our partnership with Uber underscores Nuro’s track record of partnering with the world’s leading brands to make autonomous delivery a seamless experience,” said Cosimo Leipold, head of partnerships at Nuro. “With our unique autonomous delivery vehicles and Uber’s phenomenal scale and reach, we can expand food delivery options from your favorite local mom-and-pop restaurants all the way to nationwide chains.”
Nuro was the first company to achieve fully autonomous vehicle operations in three states (Arizona, California, and Texas), and also the first to obtain an autonomous deployment permit from the California DMV. It remains one of only three companies to be granted the permit to date. Nuro’s delivery vehicles can help reduce emissions from car trips and other traditional delivery options that use gas-powered vehicles, leading to cleaner air and better public health outcomes.
Uber’s partnership with Nuro is an expansion of the company’s efforts across autonomous mobility and delivery, and is expected to unlock greater innovation for consumers and merchant partners in Mountain View and Houston.
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