Serve and Uber Eats Partner for Robot Food Delivery Starting in Los Angeles
Reunited and it feels so robo-good.
Serve Robotics and Uber are getting back together! Kind of. The two companies announced a partnership today that will make Serve’s robot delivery service available to Uber Eats customers starting in Los Angeles early next year.
The move is a bit of a reunion for Serve and Uber, and not that surprising. Serve started its robotic life as part of Postmates. In November of 2020 Uber acquired Postmates. Then in March of this year Uber spun out Postmates X, the company’s robotic division as its own seperate company called Serve Robotics. As part of that arrangement, Uber invested in Serve, so again, not too much of a surprise that Uber is using Serve as at least one partner for robotic delivery.
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One of the reasons Uber spun out Serve was that it wants to be in the logistics business, not the robot business. Instead of building one robot (and then scaling it), Uber just connects customers and restaurants and keeps the flexbility to work with whichever robot partners it wants.
And not for nothing, but Los Angeles is lousy with potential robot delivery partners right now. While Serve ‘bots toot around West Hollywood and Hollywood, Kiwibot is making deliveries in Santa Monica; Coco recently partnered with C3 virtual restaurant brands for delivery in Santa Monica, West Hollywood and Los Feliz; and just last week Ottonomy partnered with Crave’s delivery service.
Serve’s press announcement didn’t specify which L.A. neighborhoods Uber Eats will service will robots, but given that Serve has already been in WeHo for awhile, it probably that it will start there.
We also don’t know what this partnership will look like from an implementation perspective. Where will the robots be when not en route (i.e. at a central location or at individual restaurants)? What’s the charging infrastructure like? Will the robots sport Uber Eats branding?
We’ve reached out to Serve to find out more and will update as details become available.