Uber’s Postmates spins out robot delivery unit

Postmates, the delivery startup acquired by Uber last year, is spinning out its robotic delivery division as an independent company.

Uber has decided to spin out the new company, called Serve Robotics to continue development of autonomous delivery robots in urban environments, putting the company in competition with the likes of Amazon’s plans to rollout robot delivery.

In a statement yesterday, Serve said it has completed its first round of funding, led by venture capital firm Neo with participation by Uber and other investors.

The company has already tested its robot fleet with deliveries to thousands of households in Los Angeles, and had been useful during the pandemic as demand for contactless deliveries rose, the company said.

Serve said its status as independent startup would enable it to expand its market reach through new partnerships as it continues to design, develop, and operate delivery robots specialized in navigating sidewalks.

The company is particularly focussed on tapping into the booming demand for food delivery apps in the US, with revenue expected to grow from $26.5B in 2020 to $42B in five years.

Nearly half of all restaurant deliveries in the US are within a 40-minute walk of the delivery address, offering an opportunity for robotic delivery to complete them more quickly and at a lower cost to consumers and restaurants.

Dr. Ali Kashani, co-founder and chief executive of Serve Robotics said:"While self-driving cars remove the driver, robotic delivery eliminates the car itself and makes deliveries sustainable and accessible to all.”

"Over the next two decades, new mobility robots will enter every aspect of our lives—first moving food, then everything else."

Stephane Ficaja, general manager of US & Canada, Uber Eats, added: "We're excited for the potential of Serve robots to help our restaurant partners grow their business and find new convenient, safe, and reliable ways to reach customers.”

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