Uber Eats has partnered with Mitsubishi and Cartken to launch an autonomous food delivery service in Japan.

The service, expected to launch by the end of March 2024, will use Cartken’s autonomous sidewalk robots.

Cartken co-founder and chief operating officer Anjali Jindal Naik said: “This collaboration signifies a leap forward in redefining the future of food delivery, making it more accessible and sustainable to consumers in Japan.”

The autonomous food deliveries will initially be available in select areas of Tokyo.

Cartken’s autonomous robot is named Model C and is equipped with advanced computer vision and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

It will be integrated with the Uber Eats app. Mitsubishi Electric will supervise its operations.

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The robots have six wheels and can carry 27 litres of cargo at a walking pace of up to 3.3 miles per hour. Cartken’s technology allows for remote monitoring and guidance if they encounter an unforeseen obstacle.

Uber Eats and Cartken launched similar sidewalk robot delivery services in the US.

Mitsubishi electric advanced application development senior general manager Shoji Tanaka said: “We hope that this newly announced initiative will serve as a catalyst for the spread of robot delivery services in Japan”.

He went on to cite robots as an “effective countermeasure” to Japan’s ongoing logistics labour shortage.

In April 2023, Uber Eats expanded its partnership with Cartken to offer food deliveries via automated robots in Fairfax, Virginia.

The move followed Cartken’s partnership with Uber Eats in Miami in December 2022, where delivery service customers in the Mosaic district can receive their deliveries via AI-powered sidewalk robots.