Motional, a driverless technology company, is partnering with Uber to launch an autonomous delivery pilot in Santa Monica, according to Motional. Uber Eats customers will be able to order restaurant meal kits to be delivered to them via one of Motional’s retrofitted all-electric Hyundai Ioniq 5-based robotaxis by early next year.
The partnership will be both Motional’s first time delving into the driverless delivery space, and Uber’s first delivery partnership with an autonomous vehicle fleet provider. Motional says this first foray into delivery signals its “evolution to a dual-purpose product strategy.”
“We envision our delivery service to eventually be as ubiquitous as ride hailing is today,” Eryk Nice, Motional’s VP of technology strategy, told TechCrunch.
Uber’s not the first big app-based transportation company to partner with Motional. Last month, the AV startup shared plans to launch a driverless commercial robotaxi service with Lyft in Las Vegas by 2023. Motional has historically had more of a presence in Nevada, where Motional has been conducting driverless tests since November 2020. This summer, Motional announced plans to expand its presence in California with a new Los Angeles operations facility that would support testing on public roads, and this pilot with Uber makes good on those plans.
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