Uber Eats Introduces Self-Driving Food Delivery Service in Japan.

Uber Eats Introduces Self-Driving Food Delivery Service in Japan.## Uber Eats Launches Self-Driving Food Delivery in Japan

Uber Eats is extending its self-driving food delivery service to Japan, marking its inaugural expansion beyond the United States. The company has previously initiated this cutting-edge service in Miami and Fairfax, Virginia. This step is in partnership with Cartken, a startup established by Google veterans, and with regulatory backing from Mitsubishi Electric.

Addressing Labor Shortage with Robots

Shintaro Nakagawa, the CEO of Uber Eats Japan, is confident that the self-driving delivery service will tackle the local labor shortage problem. It will also enhance the existing human delivery options, which consist of bicycles, motorcycles, light freight, and walking.

The Technology Behind Self-Driving Delivery

At the core of this service is Cartken’s Model C, a robot with six wheels. Outfitted with six cameras and sophisticated AI models, it can navigate independently and identify obstacles. A remote control mode is also accessible when required.

Mitsubishi Electric has aided in adapting the robot to cater to local needs in Japan. For example, its speed is restricted to 5.4 km/h or about 3.36 mph as per local law, which is slower than its actual maximum speed of 6 mph. The carrying capacity has also been decreased from 1.5 cubic feet to roughly 0.95 cubic feet (27 liters), probably due to extra thermal insulation in the compartment.

To address privacy issues, Uber Eats guarantees that people’s faces are automatically blurred in footage recorded by the robots.

Current Partnerships and Upcoming Plans

While this is Uber Eats’ first robotic delivery initiative in Japan, Cartken already has a footprint in the nation thanks to Mitsubishi. Since early 2022, they have collaborated with Starbucks, local e-commerce behemoth Rakuten, and supermarket chain Seiyu in some regions of Japan. In the US, Cartken also teams up with Grubhub to offer self-driving food delivery service on university campuses, including Ohio State University and the University of Arizona.

Uber Eats hasn’t yet revealed which Tokyo restaurants will be using its robotic delivery service. However, given Cartken’s earlier local experience, it should have no difficulty finding partners.


The introduction of Uber Eats’ self-driving food delivery service in Japan is a crucial phase in the company’s worldwide growth. By utilizing sophisticated technology and strategic collaborations, the company intends to address local labor shortages and improve delivery efficiency. As this inventive service continues to develop, it will be intriguing to see its influence on the food delivery sector and customer behavior.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Can you explain Uber Eats’ self-driving food delivery service?

A1: It’s a service that delivers food using self-driving robots, specifically the Model C robot from Cartken.

Q2: How does the self-driving robot function?

A2: The robot employs six cameras and sophisticated AI models for independent navigation and obstacle identification. It also has a remote control mode for manual control when necessary.

Q3: What is the reason behind Uber Eats debuting this service in Japan?

A3: As per Shintaro Nakagawa, Uber Eats Japan CEO, the service is designed to resolve the local labor shortage issue and enhance the existing human delivery options.

Q4: How does Uber Eats maintain privacy with these robots?

A4: Uber Eats has included a feature where people’s faces are automatically blurred in footage recorded by the robots.

Q5: Who are some of Cartken’s current partners in Japan?

A5: In Japan, Cartken has collaborated with Starbucks, Rakuten, and supermarket chain Seiyu.