Motional and Uber have announced plans to launch autonomous deliveries for Uber Eats customers in Santa Monica, California. The deliveries will leverage Motional’s fleet of IONIQ 5 EVs equipped with autonomous technologies to carry out end-to-end food deliveries. Both companies expect to scale the service to more areas across Los Angeles and further to other U.S. cities in the future. Likewise, through the pilot, they aim to form the foundation of new collaborative activities in the future.

Participating merchants will receive a notification when the autonomous IONIQ 5 model arrives before meeting it at a designated pick-up location, placing the order in a dedicated compartment in the backseat. Upon arrival at the drop-off location, the customer will receive an alert and securely unlock the vehicle door with the Uber Eats app, collecting their order from the compartment.

Through its pilot service, Motional and Uber hope to study and assess three key areas: the integration of their respective technologies with the AV; the consumer demand for autonomous food deliveries; and how users interact with the AV itself. The pilot will work similarly to identify any additional autonomy features needed to enable future autonomous deliveries. While helping develop and refine the core customer experience, these factors will also be used to inform broader applications of Motional’s AV fleet.