Uber Technologies on Thursday announced its partnership with startup Nuro to test food delivery via unmanned vehicles in some locations across the United States.
Autonomous delivery has become an area of focus for businesses as consumers have been limited to ordering meals online from the comfort of their homes, even after Covid-19 lockdowns are lifted.
Trials with Nuro will begin this fall in Houston, Texas and Mountain View, California under a 10-year partnership, and the company plans to expand service to the greater Bay Area.
Uber, which aims to have only electric vehicles on its platform in the United States, Canada and Europe by 2030, has also been testing autonomous delivery with Serve Robotics, which provides curbside machines for delivery.
Nuro, founded by former lead engineers from Google's self-driving car project, already has partnerships with U.S. retailers like Kroger and Walmart, as well as restaurant chains like Domino's Pizza Inc. and Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.
In the Uber Eats trial, customers will be able to choose driverless delivery as an option when ordering food and groceries.
While Uber's ride-sharing business has rebounded from pandemic lows as people resume rides, attend social events and return to offices, its food delivery unit faces risks from the reopening of restaurants. and rising order costs.