Uber plans to make its food deliveries even more convenient thanks to a 10-year partnership with autonomous vehicle company Nuro. The third-party delivery service will utilize Nuro’s vehicles for last-mile deliveries beginning in Texas and California this fall.
Nuro's zero-occupant autonomous delivery vehicles run on public roads and are built specifically to carry food and other goods. Nuro says its vehicles can help reduce emissions from car trips and other traditional delivery options that use gas-powered vehicles, and the partnership serves as an opportunity for both companies to support local businesses and strengthen local commerce.
"Nuro and Uber share a vision in which technology can make everyday life just a little bit easier," said Noah Zych, global head of autonomous mobility and delivery at San Francisco-based Uber. "Nuro's distinctive autonomous vehicles are a great match for the Uber platform, and this partnership will bring a compelling combination of innovation alongside the convenience, affordability and reliability our customers and merchants have come to expect."
Autonomous deliveries will initially take place for Uber Eats participating restaurants and merchants in Houston and Nuro's home city of Mountain View, Calif., with a wider rollout to the Bay Area expected in the future.
"Our partnership with Uber underscores Nuro's track record of partnering with the world's leading brands to make autonomous delivery a seamless experience," said Cosimo Leipold, head of partnerships at Nuro. "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."
Uber Eats was introduced two years ago, and Uber recently unveiled a new grocery experience for the service. Updates have been rolling out throughout the summer, including scheduled or on-demand grocery delivery, the ability to follow the shopping experience in real time, and effortless product replacements.
“With grocery items now available from Uber in 33 countries — the shopping experience on Uber Eats is about to get better than ever,” wrote Uber’s Therese Lim and Oskar Hjertonsson. “By investing in strong grocery partnerships and building features that consumers, merchants and shoppers are looking for, we’re bringing the whole world one step closer to truly getting anything delivered to their doorsteps."
Earlier this year, Uber made its first foray into autonomous vehicle delivery when it began working with driverless technology company Motional to bring a pilot program to Santa Monica, Calif. The latter company’s vehicles are now conducting end-to-end food deliveries via the Uber Eats network.