Uber Eats delivery robots are coming to Miami

 Uber Technologies and Cartken, an Oakland-based robotics company, have paired up to start delivering food via robots in the Miami area to Uber Eats customers. They are starting with the Dadeland area of Miami-Dade County with plans to expand in Miami and additional cities in 2023.

The Miami-Dade robot delivery service is the result of Uber Eats’ first formal partnership with a global on-demand delivery app beyond college campuses. Cartken’s AI-powered sidewalk delivery robots currently are used for neighborhood food and grocery delivery, campus meal delivery and curbside pickup across the country.

Cartken’s 6-wheeled Model C delivery robot drives autonomously along sidewalks and pathways at a speed similar to walking, much like the robots from Motional and Serve. A remote monitoring system allows operators to observe the bots along their routes and step in as needed, and an array of cameras and sensors can help them navigate past obstacles on their own.

 With the Miami service, which is a one-year pilot program so far, customers will be instructed to meet the robot on the sidewalk and there will be no delivery fees – or tipping – for robot deliveries. Customers will then use their phones to unlock the robot’s 24-pound storage compartment and remove the food they ordered.

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Calling Miami “a thriving Uber Eats market. Noah Zych, Global Head of Autonomous Mobility and Delivery at Uber, said, “Our partnership with Cartken marks another important milestone for our efforts in automated and autonomous technology and will provide greater reliability and affordability to Miami merchants and consumers.”

Added Christian Bersch, Co-founder and CEO at Cartken: “Together, we have the opportunity to reduce traffic congestion, help local merchants to increase delivery capacity, and bring consumers fast, convenient, and emission-free deliveries.”

A number of self-navigating robots have started work in Florida in recent years, after Gov.Rick Scott signed a bill into law in 2017 allowing the tech to travel on sidewalks and crosswalks for delivering packages. And to be sure, robots have been roaming Miami’s mean streets on and off for awhile now.

Cartken partnered with Miami-based tech company Reef to test delivery service for Miami’s urban ghost kitchens starting in 2021, delivering food within a quarter mile radius in downtown Miami and Brickell. What’s more, Kiwibot, the Colombian robotic delivery service startup, began establishing a new base in Miami last year. Several Kiwibot robots have been mapping in the Brickell area, and through a partnership with the Knight Foundation, the robots did some community service during the pandemic in Miami’s Little Havana, delivering food from local restaurants and engaging with the residents. 

Source: Refresh Miami