Uber solves "Volvo driver" problem with new autonomous tech

Uber hopes to begin Uber Eats drone delivery in San Diego this summer

The ride-hailing service said Wednesday it plans to begin testing food delivery by drone as it ramps up its Uber Eats service that partners with restaurants.

Uber and San Diego were granted the winning bid by the Federal Aviation Administration previous year to test the new delivery service, according to the company.

"Our goal is to expand Uber Eats drone delivery so we can provide more options to more people at the tap of a button", said Luke Fischer, head of flight operations at Uber Elevate.

It works this way: Workers at a restaurant load the meal into a drone and it takes off, tracked and guided by a new aerospace management system. It also wants to deliver Uber Eats orders via drone.

In the future, Uber Elevate plans to enable the drones to land atop parked vehicles within its rides network near delivery locations before the food is picked up and hand-delivered.

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Volvo and Uber have whipped the covers off their production XC90 self-driving auto, as the ride-sharing giant ramps up its efforts to remove human drivers from its fleet. The vehicle's steering and braking systems are designed for computer rather than human control, including several backup systems for both steering and braking functions and battery backup power. By the middle of the next decade we expect one-third of all cars we sell to be fully autonomous.

'Working in close partnership with companies like Volvo is a key ingredient to effectively building a safe, scalable, self-driving fleet, ' said Eric Meyhofer, CEO of Uber Advanced Technologies Group. In case the main systems fail, these back-up systems are capable of immediately bringing the vehicle to a stop.

This follows several prototypes which were built with the goal of sussing out the companies' self-driving auto development efforts.

Volvo said it will use a similar autonomous base for the introduction of its first commercially available autonomous drive technology in the early 2020s.

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