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Uber Eats deliveries will be served by mini autonomous EVs in US markets starting this fall

Ride-share veteran Uber Technologies has announced a long term partnership with autonomous vehicle developer Nuro, whose zero-occupant EVs will deliver food to Uber Eats customers around the US. The ten-year deal will kick off this fall in Texas and California before expanding further.

As pioneers of the rideshare revolution beginning over a decade ago, Uber Technologies ($UBER) continues to grow and adapt to a world focused on reducing carbon emissions and instant gratification, like having tacos delivered right to your front door when you’re too hungover to walk three blocks (you know who you are).

Although it started as a black car service to counter the less desirable taxi experience at the time, Uber has grown into a mobility technology juggernaut, offering several variations of its rideshare services such as Uber Green, Uber Pet, and Uber Eats for food and grocery deliveries.

On the rideshare front, Uber has partnered with EV companies around the globe to electrify its fleets, whether its all-electric motorcycles from Opibus in Kenya, or Tesla Model 3s in the US and Europe. Uber even co-developed a rideshare specific EV with Arrival, but that project is on hold while the UK startup focuses on delivering its electric Van first.

On the Uber Eats front, the company has already been delivering meals to Southern California customers as part of a pilot program with robotaxi company Motional – a joint venture of Hyundai Motor Group that utilizes autonomous IONIQ 5 EVs. Since May, the two companies have been piloting Uber Eats deliveries and analyzing customer feedback in order to jointly develop an autonomous food delivery model that could eventually be scaled throughout Los Angeles and into other cities.

Now, Uber Eats is taking autonomous food deliveries a step further by removing the driver altogether. Check out Nuro’s autonomous delivery EV below.

Uber Eats delivered autonomously with the help of Nuro

Uber Technologies shared news of its latest expansion of autonomous mobility via a press release today, explaining how and why a ten-year partnership with Nuro makes sense for both parties. Nuro is a bit of a trailblazer itself, as the first full-autonomous vehicle developer to operate in three separate states (AZ, CA, TX).

To support the growing market for last-miles deliveries of food, groceries, and other packages, Uber feels that Nuro’s zero-occupant EVs can offer a sustainable solution for Uber Eats and beyond. For perspective, the Uber Eats network currently consists of 825,000 merchants in over 11,000 cities around the world.

Uber also made an admirable point in that its new partnership is expected to help support local businesses and commerce, many of which are still recovering from limitations brought on by the pandemic. Nuro’s head of partnerships Cosimo Leipold expanded:

Our partnership with Uber underscores Nuro’s track record of partnering with the world’s leading brands to make autonomous delivery a seamless experience. 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.

Zero-occupant Uber Eats deliveries are expected to begin this fall in Houston, Texas and Mountain View, California. Uber and Nuro say they already have expansion plans for the Bay Area as well. As the third state currently allowing Nuro’s autonomous EVs to operate, we should expect to eventually see deliveries in Arizona, but that has not been confirmed by either company at this point.

Will someone please order some Thai food and film the Nuro EV pulling up? We’d love to see it!

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Scooter Doll is a writer, designer and tech enthusiast born in Chicago and based on the West Coast. When he’s not offering the latest tech how tos or insights, he’s probably watching Chicago sports.
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