Uber on Wednesday announced that it will begin using drones for its Uber Eats service, and had gained regulatory approval to begin testing the service in San Diego, California.
“Our goal is to expand Uber Eats drone delivery so we can provide more options to more people at the tap of a button,” said Luke Fischer, head of flight operations at Uber Elevate during a company ‘summit.’
“We believe that Uber is uniquely positioned to take on this challenge as we’re able to leverage the Uber Eats network of restaurant partners and delivery partners as well as the aviation experience and technology of Uber Elevate.”
Not quite to your driveway…
According to AFP, the drones won’t deliver directly to customers. Instead, food will be flown from the restaurant to a safe drop-off location where Uber Eats drivers will be waiting to complete orders. The company eventually plans to land the drones on parked vehicles located near key delivery hotspots in order to allow for final delivery by hand.
Uber said it had developed a proprietary airspace management system called Elevate Cloud Systems that will guide the drones to their location.
While not the first food drone delivery service, Uber is aiming for a potentially large-scale service through its food service partners across the United States.
Initial testing in San Diego was done with McDonald’s, and will be expanded to include additional Uber Eats restaurants later this year. –AFP via Yahoo!
New autonomous car
Uber also announced its newest self-driving venture with Volvo, which will produce an XC90 prototype “capable of fully driving itself,” according to a statement by Uber. The vehicle will house sensors galore which should allow it to operate in an urban environment.
“Working in close partnership with companies like Volvo is a key ingredient to effectively building a safe, scalable, self-driving fleet,” said Uber Advanced Technologies Group CEO Eric Meyhofer. That said, fully autonomous are at least 15 years away according to Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.
Uber signed a deal in 2017 with Volvo, which is owned by China’s Geely, to produce “tens of thousands” of self-driving cars for a fleet of autonomous taxis.
Volvo said it will use a similar autonomous base for the introduction of its first commercially available autonomous drive technology in the early 2020s.
This week, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said he does not expect fully self-driving vehicles to be deployed for at least 15 years, but that autonomous features will be gradually introduced and that some “easy” trips may be made autonomously. -AFP
Uber also announced the latest versions of its electric bicycles and scooters as part of the summit.