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Uber Expands Partnership With Robotic Delivery Service

Serve Robotics to provide autonomous food delivery in Los Angeles early next year
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
Uber Expands Its Partnership With Robotic Delivery Service
Uber has expanded its partnership with Serve Robotics to bring self-driving delivery to Uber Eats.

Uber Eats has expanded its partnership with Serve Robotics that will soon have on-demand autonomous food delivery robots roving Los Angeles sidewalks.

Founded in 2017 as the robotics division of Postmates, which was acquired by Uber for about $2.65 billion last year, Serve is now an independent company on a mission to make delivery more affordable, sustainable and accessible for everyone. Guided by its proprietary autonomous technology, the company's self-driving robots have successfully completed tens of thousands of contactless deliveries in major U.S. cities. Spun off as an independent company in February 2021, Serve is backed by Uber and other leading investors.

As a result of the expanded partnership, Uber Eats customers in Los Angeles will have access to robotic delivery early next year, increasing food delivery convenience and sustainability — as Serve’s autonomous delivery experience helps reduce vehicle emissions to zero.

"Serve Robotics is looking forward to delivering great convenience for Uber Eats merchants and customers," said Dr. Ali Kashani, co-founder and CEO of Serve Robotics, which is based in San Francisco. "Uber is our first commercial partner and will be a strong source of demand for us as we use contactless delivery to power community commerce at scale."

"We are excited to partner with Serve Robotics to test a new kind of delivery in Los Angeles that's safe, reliable and environmentally friendly," said Sarfraz Maredia, VP and head of Uber Eats in the United States and Canada. "We're always looking for ways to better serve merchants and consumers, which is why we're working with the team at Serve to explore the potential of this technology."

In addition to its technology advancements, Uber has made major inroads in dominating grocery delivery this year. The San Francisco-based food delivery and ridesharing platform completed its first national grocery partnership in the United States with Albertsons Cos. in July that includes 1,200 stores. A few days later, the company made another strategic move by entering into a delivery pilot with Costco Wholesale Corp. at 25 locations in Texas. In September, the tech company revealed Rite Aid as its third major partner, allowing on-demand delivery from all of its 2,185 stores.

Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons operates 2,277 retail stores with 1,725 pharmacies, 400 associated fuel centers, 22 dedicated distribution centers and 20 manufacturing facilities. The company’s stores predominantly operate under the Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Carrs, Jewel-Osco, Acme, Shaw’s, Star Market, United Supermarkets, Kings Food Markets and Haggen banners. Albertsons is No. 8 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. Issaquah, Wash.-based Costco operates 809 warehouses worldwide and is No. 4 on The PG 100, while Camp Hill, Pa.-based Rite Aid is No. 19. 

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