Uber Eats Begins Delivering Food By Robots In Tokyo

By Consultants Review Team Tuesday, 05 March 2024

The green self-driving delivery car hobbles down the street to a pork cutlet restaurant in Tokyo to pick up food that was ordered on Uber Eats. The US-based food app plans to start robot deliveries in a limited section of the city on Wednesday, with the goal of ultimately expanding the service throughout Japan.

Due to a severe labor crisis, the nation modified its traffic regulations last year to permit delivery robots on public roads. Additionally, other businesses, including as Panasonic, are testing innovative, adorable vehicles for the transportation of products. The boxy robots from Uber Eats are equipped with three wheels on each side to traverse kerbs and square headlights for eyes. They use sensors to compute their own routes and avoid impediments like pedestrians.

With flashing lights surrounding the lid and a top speed of 5.4 km/h (3.4 mph), a human operator is ready to go in case of emergency. The Tokyo robots' first range would be restricted, similar to the company's self-driving delivery services that were introduced in North America, according to Uber Eats CEO Alvin Oo. He told AFP on Tuesday that although app users had to wait outside for the robot to arrive, one day it may visit their home.

According to Oo, the head of market operations at UberEats Japan, "going all the way to the office floor, to the exact apartment could be useful in somewhere like high-rise Tokyo." He said that the service may eventually be extended to rural areas, where the majority of people are old and there aren't many drivers. According to Oo, "even in five, ten years, there will always be work for the human delivery partners on the platform," thus current drivers "do not need to worry."

Last month, Uber Eats and related apps experienced strikes. The ride-sharing behemoth Uber has long faced criticism for claiming its staff are independent contractors rather than employees, which allows it to skirt minimum wage and holiday pay regulations.  Initially, the Uber Eats robots, created in collaboration with US startup Cartken and Mitsubishi Electric, would only carry meals from a select few eateries in the bustling Nihonbashi neighborhood.

The robot grabbed a lot of attention during a presentation on Tuesday even though it almost crashed with a pedestrian. It's really adorable and striking, commented onlooker Akemi Hayakawa. The 60-year-old remarked, "I thought it might bump into people's feet, but people give way to it." Japan faces a severe labor shortage due to its aging and declining population. Thus, this is also a really smart concept for Japan.

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