Uber Eats, Waymo Test Autonomous Food Delivery

Uber Eats is delivering some orders in the Phoenix area using Waymo’s autonomous vehicles. 

The multi-year partnership, which began last May, already includes the self-driving cars being available to rideshare passengers as a vehicle option. 

“The program is starting with a small group of restaurants, but Uber officials said they expect the list to be over 10 restaurants in the next few weeks,” according to the Arizona Republic.

The two companies are working with select merchants to deliver in Tempe, Mesa and Chandler, Arizona. 

“Customers who have their food delivered by a Waymo will receive an in-app notification to take their phone outside to unlock the vehicle and pick up the items ordered,” according toFast Company. “Users, who place an order where autonomous delivery is available, will be able to opt out of the tech at checkout if they prefer to have a courier deliver their food.”



For Uber Eats, Phoenix is the seventh site with autonomous deliveries, but the first location using Waymo’s vehicles. 

“Uber Eats has already teamed up with robotics companies Cartken, Motional, Nuro and Serve Robotics to pilot autonomous deliveries in other markets,” according to CNBC

An Uber spokesperson told CNBC that the list of service areas is growing, and more restaurants will be eligible for autonomous deliveries in the coming weeks.

Orders will be delivered via Waymo’s Jaguar I-PACE electric vehicles.

“Noah Zych, global head of autonomous mobility and delivery for Uber, said the first restaurants were chosen because they would be a good fit, with many deliveries within the Waymo service area,” according to the Arizona Republic

Both the restaurant and the delivery location must be in the Waymo service area for the delivery to be done by an autonomous vehicle.

Customers will be able to opt out of having an autonomous vehicle deliver their food.

“Zych said he expects customers might make that decision on a case-by-case basis,” according to the Arizona Republic. “Sometimes they want the convenience of the food being delivered straight to their doorstep, and sometimes they won’t mind getting the food from the vehicle.”

So this begs the question, do you tip a robot?

If a customer places a tip for the driver before the order is complete, and the order is then paired with an autonomous vehicle, the tip will not be charged, Zych said.

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