Uber is increasing the number of autonomous delivery trucks it uses after it was revealed that it will soon employ sidewalk robots made in Miami, Florida.
Cartken, an AI business with facilities in Oakland and best known for placing its cars on college campuses, will produce the six-wheeled delivery robots. Cartken was founded by a group of former Google workers.
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The robots will initially move goods from various businesses in the Dadeland neighborhood, with plans to expand into more marketplaces and urban areas of Miami-Dade County in 2023. Uber and Cartken’s agreement, according to the robotics company Cartken, marks its “first formal relationship with a worldwide on-demand delivery service beyond college campuses.”
On many college campuses and in some cities and towns, robots that deliver parcels on the sidewalk are becoming more and more common. Robots have been known to catch fire, be struck by vehicles, and become trapped in the snow on occasion.
cars electric Cartken robots are equipped with a trunk that can transport around two dozen pounds of freight and a number of embedded cameras that may be used to detect obstacles and help the robot find its intended place. The robotic devices used by Cartken are made by Magna.
The robots can only move at a speed that is somewhat slower than walking, which is slower than human delivery on a bike or in a car with a delivery radius of several miles but definitely faster than robot delivery. They can also climb curbs but not stairs, which could turn away customers if they live in buildings with multiple stories or risk getting trapped in the snow.
The use of autonomous vehicles by Uber for delivery and ride-hailing services is becoming more commonplace. The business has a 10-year arrangement with Nuro to use its delivery trucks in California and Texas, in addition to collaborating with Motional and Serve Robotics on a robot delivery pilot in Los Angeles. On its app for consumers who request trips, Uber also advertises Motional’s robotaxis in Las Vegas.
Famously, Uber created its own fleet of self-driving cars with the goal of eventually replacing all of its human drivers. However, the initiative was discontinued in 2017 after a lady was fatally struck by one of the company’s cars.