- Serve Robotics and Uber Eats have signed a commercial agreement to deploy Serve’s delivery robots at scale, Serve announced Tuesday. The deal is an expansion of an existing partnership between Serve and Uber Eats.
- Uber will use up to 2,000 of Serve’s robots across unspecified U.S. delivery markets, according the press release.
- Upwards of 200 restaurants in the Los Angeles market already use Serve’s robots to complete deliveries, with robotic deliveries rising 30% month over month since Serve began offering delivery last year, the company said.
Delivery robots may offer some sustainability advantages, like reduced air pollution, over car-based delivery, Serve said in the press release. Robotic fulfillment could also improve the efficiency of last-mile delivery. But legal problems stemming from disparate state and local rules on maximum bot weight, maximum bot speed, and other safety issues, could slow the large-scale deployment of delivery bots in some markets.
“This partnership is a major step towards mass commercialization of robotics for autonomous delivery,” Serve’s co-founder and CEO Ali Kashani said in a statement.
Uber Eats has been testing different delivery robotics options. In December, the delivery giant launched a partnership with Cartken to test robots in Miami, Florida, and last month expanded that partnership to parts of Virginia.
Since closing a $13 million funding round in December 2021, Serve has been partnering with a variety of brands and retailers to test its robots. Serve and 7-Eleven began testing robot delivery in West Hollywood in January, and last July, Piestro and Serve announced a plan to test robotic delivery from Piestro automated kiosks in unspecified markets.
Uber Eats and Serve Robotics did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the markets covered by the commercial agreement, or the regulatory challenges and supposed sustainability benefits of delivery robots.