Uber eyes drones for food delivery, unveils new autonomous auto

Darnell Taylor
June 13, 2019

The ride-hailing service said Wednesday it plans to begin testing food delivery by drone as it ramps up its Uber Eats service that partners with restaurants.

The Uber Eats drone announcement is just one of the updates out of Uber's "Elevate" arm, which is dedicated to pursuing Uber's aerial travel business. It placed a Big Mac and fries into specially designed packaging and then flew the food from the restaurant to a designated location where an Uber courier picked up the order to deliver it to the customer.

"We believe that Uber is uniquely positioned to take on this challenge as we're able to leverage the Uber Eats network of restaurant partners and delivery partners as well as the aviation experience and technology of Uber Elevate".

It works this way: Workers at a restaurant load the meal into a drone and it takes off, tracked and guided by a new aerospace management system.

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"Our goal is to expand Uber Eats drone delivery so we can provide more options to more people at the tap of a button", said Luke Fischer, head of flight operations at Uber Elevate.

Ride-sharing company Uber has unveiled its third generation self-driving technology, and simultaneously addressed that infamous road rage trigger, the Volvo driver.

Volvo and Uber have presented a new production vehicle, which is still based on an XC90, capable of fully autonomous driving. Several back-up systems are built into the thing for both steering and braking functions plus a dose of battery back-up power. This is the third vehicle they've developed together. If the primary systems fail, the backup system will immediately act to bring the vehicle to a stop. Volvo signed a "framework agreement" in 2017 to sell Uber "tens of thousands" of self-driving cars between 2019 and 2021. Along with built-in safety features, the XC90 SUV uses Uber's self-driving system.

The self-driving "base vehicle concept" used here will also help inform the rollout of Volvo's forthcoming autonomous and semi-autonomous systems.

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