Starting Thursday, some Miami residents can receive Uber Eats delivery bots, which will start working thanks to a new partnership between Uber and bot development company Cartken.
With the new service, customers will be alerted when their food is on the way, then directed to meet a remotely supervised robot to pick it up from the sidewalk, according to in-app.
The 6-wheeled Kart Ken robots are equipped with multiple sensors and cameras to help them avoid collisions and choose paths with the least amount of risk. According to the company’s website; Delivery bots can work both indoors and outdoors.
The robotic food delivery option will initially be available in Miami’s Dadeland area, with plans to expand across the county and to additional cities next year.
The announcement is the latest step for Uber to partner with third-party companies to bring the kind of futuristic automated technology that was once part of its offering to investors and the public.
Uber also recently partnered with Motional, a self-driving car development technology company, to bring self-driving vehicles to Las Vegas. The moves come two years after Uber sold its self-driving car unit amid financial and legal pressure.
In a statement released Thursday, Noah Zaikh, global head of Uber’s autonomous mobility and delivery unit, described the collaboration with KartKen as “another significant step in the company’s efforts to invest in automated and autonomous technology.”
Through these partnerships, Uber may be trying to move away from relying on its large fleet of independent contractors to pick up passengers and provide meals, a business model that has caused legal troubles for the company in recent years.
Christian Birch, Co-Founder, and CEO of Cartken, talked about some of the benefits of the new partnership, including how these robots can help communities by reducing traffic congestion and allowing local merchants to increase delivery capacity via zero-emission delivery options.
Kart Kin has partnered with Grubhub to provide robots for meal delivery at some universities in the US. Cartken’s partnership with Uber is its first outside of college campuses.