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Home » Uber Eats is launching a delivery service with Cartken’s sidewalk robots in Japan

Uber Eats is launching a delivery service with Cartken’s sidewalk robots in Japan

Uber, along with partners Mitsubishi Electric and autonomous robotics startup Cartken, are launching a service in Japan that will use self-driving sidewalk robots to deliver food to customers.

The companies announced that the service offered through the Uber Eats app will launch in a select part of Tokyo by the end of March. An Uber spokesperson said operating hours would be disclosed closer to the launch date.

Uber and Cartken, a startup founded in 2019 by former Google engineers behind the short-lived Bookbot, already operate a delivery service together in Fairfax, Virginia and Miami. This latest agreement marks their first foray outside of the United States. It also brings in Mitsubishi Electric, a company that will supervise operations in Tokyo.

Cartken’s autonomous sidewalk robot, known as Model C, will be used for the delivery service. The robot, which is outfitted with an insulated 27-liter cargo bin, travels at about 3.3 miles per hour. The robot is loaded with sensors like cameras and advance software that helps it detect, perceive and ultimately navigate its environment. Cartken also has a system that allows workers to remotely monitor and guide the robot if needed. Cartken’s teleoperations interface will be used by Mitsubishi Electric employees who are trained in Cartken’s remote guidance system, according to an Uber spokesperson. 

Shoji Tanaka, the senior general manager of Mitsubishi Electric’s advanced application development center said robot delivery is an an effective countermeasure to the logistics crisis that will become more serious in the future.

“We hope that this newly announced initiative will serve as a catalyst for the spread of robot delivery services in Japan,” Tanaka said. “In the future, we will work with buildings and factory infrastructure, which is one of our strengths, so autonomous robots will be able to deliver inside various facilities.”

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