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Uber Eats, Cartken and Mitsubishi Electric partner to bring autonomous robot deliveries to Japan

Uber Eats Japan, Mitsubishi Electric and Cartken have formed a partnership to provide food deliveries using autonomous sidewalk robots in Japan.

Robot deliveries facilitated by the Uber Eats app are scheduled to begin in a select part of Tokyo by the end of March 2024.

Following successful autonomous delivery operations in the US, Japan will be the first international market to have autonomous delivery available on the Uber Eats platform and can be leveraged for expanded opportunities in the Japan market.

The autonomous robot “Model C”, designed by Cartken and utilizing computer vision and AI technologies, will be matched with deliveries from the Uber Eats app and its operations will be supervised by Mitsubishi Electric.

Cartken’s Model C delivery robot can drive autonomously using AI models for object detection and localization algorithms to perceive and navigate the environment.

The autonomy system is optimized to avoid various obstacles, yield to pedestrians, and stop at traffic lights before crossing a road. The robot travels along sidewalks at a speed of up to 5.4 km/h, equivalent to an adult’s walking speed.

Pedestrians captured by the robots’ cameras are automatically masked for privacy protection. Inside the robot is an insulated 27-liter cargo bin that keeps food and other items at an appropriate temperature during delivery.

Shintaro Nakagawa, general manager of Uber Eats Japan, says: “We are thrilled to announce our partnership with Mitsubishi Electric and Cartken in Japan.

“Uber Eats already offers delivery by bicycle, motorcycle, light cargo, and on foot here in Tokyo, and now we are adding a completely new delivery method: robot. We look forward to bringing fun surprises and a high level of reliability to our customers and merchants.”

Anjali Jindal Naik, co-founder and COO at Cartken, says: “We’re excited to expand our partnership with Uber Eats and Mitsubishi Electric and pioneer Cartken’s autonomous robot delivery technology on the bustling streets of Tokyo.

“This collaboration signifies a leap forward in redefining the future of food delivery, making it more accessible and sustainable to consumers in Japan.”

Shoji Tanaka, senior general manager of advanced application development center, development division, Mitsubishi Electric, says: “We are very pleased to announce our business alliance to provide robot delivery services.

“Robot delivery is considered to be an effective countermeasure to the logistics crisis that will become more serious in the future, and we have been developing the business together with our autonomous robot partner Cartken in order to respond to such social issues.

“We hope that this newly announced initiative will serve as a catalyst for the spread of robot delivery services in Japan.

“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.”

This version has been translated into English, as the original document is in Japanese.

Mitsubishi Electric says it is committed to providing end-users with “even more convenient and advanced experiences”.

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