Countless companies and startups around the world are trying to make money by delivering food orders and grocery shopping. But the company turns out to be very heavy. Because competition is fierce and costs are difficult to control. Human drivers are a major cost item in this regard. Especially because these also have to be paid if the orders do not meet expectations. Therefore, experiments have been going on for some time with deliveries by self-driving vehicles. Uber Eats now seems to want to massively promote the topic in the United States. That is why a ten-year partnership with the startup Nuro was agreed. Engineers there have developed an autonomous vehicle specifically for food delivery. Together, the partners now plan to implement automated deliveries in Houston, Texas, and Mountain View, California. The offer can be expanded to other locations and regions at a later date.
Customers must pick up the food outside
The Nuro R2 is equipped with 360-degree cameras, a thermal camera, radar and lidar. The technology must ensure that the vehicle can navigate independently and can also respond to unexpected situations. The recently unveiled third generation of the R2 also has its own airbag, which is intended to prevent serious damage in the event of a collision with pedestrians. However, the new version of the vehicle has not yet received official approval. Uber’s deliveries should therefore initially be made with the second generation. Concerned customers have to somehow leave their homes and pick up the food on the street. They will be given a code to enter into the vehicle. You will then receive your order. Especially in multi-story buildings, this means a loss of service quality compared to the human drivers, who often bring the food to the front door.
Tips given will be refunded on automatic delivery
However, customers cannot choose whether they prefer to be supplied by people or machines. This is also not reflected in the price of the delivery. This remains the same, even if there are actually no labor costs when using the Nuro R2. You will in any case get your money back if you have paid a digital tip when ordering online. In the test markets, Uber Eats is likely to closely monitor how the margin develops. From this, it can in turn be deduced whether the purchase of the delivery vans actually pays off. This probably involves the question of how smoothly the automated deliveries run and how often the vehicles need to be repaired or maintained. Last but not least, the feedback from the supplied customers should also play a role in the evaluation of the experiment.