More Uber Eats customers would receive their orders from vehicles that did not have delivery personnel on board. This is due to Uber’s 10-year agreement with Nuro to use its autonomous, electric vehicles to deliver food orders in the United States.
This fall, they’ll launch in Houston, Texas, and Mountain View, California, before expanding to the greater Bay Area.
Customers will not be able to choose and will not even know if their order is being delivered by a Nuro bot when they make their purchase, according to TechCrunch. That also means they’ll be charged the same delivery rates regardless of delivery method.
They’ll also get a tip refund if they give one through the app and a Nuro vehicle arrives instead of a human worker. However, they must walk outside to obtain their order, which could be difficult in the rain.
Customers would have to enter a code to open the vehicle door and retrieve their order, according to a video released by the companies to demonstrate what a Nuro delivery would look like. Nuro debuted its third-generation delivery vehicle earlier this year, complete with an external airbag to protect pedestrians.
Because it has yet to formally launch its new vehicle model, the partnership will begin with its second-generation cars known as the R2. The R2 was designed to be completely driverless, with 360-degree and thermal cameras, lidar, and radar to navigate roads autonomously.
Bringing new meaning to grab-and-go! Meals and goods delivered by @nuro’s zero-occupant autonomous delivery vehicles. Select cities.
Link in bio for more. pic.twitter.com/nINbqgW3uI
— Uber Eats (@UberEats) September 8, 2022
Nuro’s vehicles have been making deliveries in Houston for companies such as Walmart since 2019. It was granted the state’s first Autonomous Vehicle Deployment Permit in 2020, allowing it to operate a commercial autonomous vehicle service. According to TechCrunch, this would allow Nuro to be paid for every Uber Eats delivery in the state.
Uber Eats has an agreement with more than one autonomous delivery company, including Nuro. The food delivery service began a pilot with Motional in May for orders in Santa Monica, California, though deliveries made by an autonomous vehicle will still be accompanied by a safety driver.
In the same month, Uber Eats launched a pilot service with sidewalk delivery company Serve Robotics for short delivery routes in West Hollywood.