Hyundai Ioniq 5 using an automated driving system will begin meal deliveries in California. They have entered the service of Uber Eats service in Santa Monica and work completely independently. The delivery service alerts the restaurant to the arrival of the self-driving car, which has special compartments in the back to carry the ride. Once loaded, the Ioniq 5 departs to the customer, who can pick up their order after receiving a notification on the app.
Motional, a joint venture between Hyundai and Aptiv that specializes in advanced vehicle electronics, is responsible for self-driving cars. The company already has experience in passenger transportation, but self-driving food delivery cars have not been part of its portfolio so far.
Motional spent several months preparing to launch the pilot program, testing interactions with each Uber Eats restaurant on the route of future “couriers.” According to the company’s COO Abe Gabra, the launch of the first delivery of self-driving cars for delivery is a “new phase” in Motional’s roadmap and a foundation for future work with Uber.
Last year, U.S. retailer Walmart began using autonomous cars for deliveries. However, they do not interact directly with customers: the trucks take products from the dark store (a closed warehouse store for online trade) to the retail store.