Look over there: A robot delivers food to an Uber Eats' customer in Miami
A small, self-driven vehicle heads across a sidewalk to a person and stops. Then the individual reaches down, opens the hatch and gets out the food he or she ordered. This isn't a scene in a science fiction movie, rather Uber Eats' newest mode of food delivery coming for Miami-Dade residents.
Uber on Thursday announced a partnership with California technology company Cartken that enables Cartken's self-driving robots to deliver Uber Eats' customer orders. For now, people in the Dadeland area can have food delivered by the robot.
Early next year, Uber plans to expand its robot food delivery service to the rest of Miami-Dade County and also to more cities and college campuses nationwide. Cartken's robots are currently delivering food on the campuses of Ohio State University and the University of Arizona, as well as in parts of California, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan.
Where the automated delivery is available, customers don't have to pay an additional charge to have food brought to them by the robot. They receive a notification on their Uber app that a robot will handle delivery and get notifications about its location until it arrives. Upon arrival of the robot, customers use their mobile phones to unlock the robot's storage compartment and take out the food they ordered.
Noah Zych, an Uber executive, said the ride-hailing and food delivery operator considers Miami a "thriving Uber Eats market," and sees greater opportunity for local Uber Eats customers through its automated sidewalk robot delivery collaboration with Cardken.
"Our partnership with Cartken marks another important milestone for our efforts in automated and autonomous technology and will provide greater reliability and affordability to Miami merchants and consumers," Zych said.
Cartken CEO Christian Bersch said the partnership with Uber will provide consumers with an eco-friendly delivery service.
"We are excited about how this partnership with Uber will bring the advantages of robotics to food delivery—and ultimately create more connected communities," Bersch said in a statement. "Together, we have the opportunity to reduce traffic congestion, help local merchants to increase delivery capacity, and bring consumers fast, convenient, and emission-free deliveries."
In 2021, Cartken partnered with Miami-based tech company Reef to test delivery service for Miami's urban ghost kitchens. Residents within a quarter-mile radius of downtown Miami or Brickell were eligible to receive automated food delivery.
2022 Miami Herald.
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