Uber and Motional: the perfect match for autonomous delivery?

When a leading autonomous driving specialist teams up with new mobility’s poster child, it bears watching. By Megan Lampinen

Autonomous driving (AD) has the potential to revolutionise numerous aspects of transport, from personal mobility in robotaxis to cabless trucks plying the highways 24-7 to driverless pods delivering pizzas. Last-mile delivery in particular has seen interest swell in the wake of the pandemic, partly due to the prospect of reduced contagion risks from contactless exchanges.

Automotive World Magazine – March 2022

A handful of companies have been exploring applications in this area. Ford and Toyota have both been evaluating customer interactions around self-driving pizza delivery. Nuro currently has a fleet of ell-electric autonomous vehicles (AVs) delivering Domino’s pizzas in the US and another that will soon begin a parcel delivery pilot with FedEx in Texas. French supplier Valeo has been developing a delivery droid, the eDeliver4U, with the aim of providing its self-driving system to last-mile operators.

The newest player to join the field is Boston-headquartered Motional, a joint venture between Aptiv and Hyundai which has been making a name for itself with robotaxis. The AD specialist will put its self-driving Hyundai Ioniq 5-based vehicles to work delivering food orders for Uber Eats. The service will launch in Santa Monica, California in early 2022. As Eryk Nice, Motional’s Vice President of Technology Strategy, explains, this is a pivotal partnership not just for the players but for the wider self-driving delivery ecosystem.

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