Uber Bolsters Platform for Post-pandemic Life

Uber said Monday it is revving up to be a "go anywhere and get anything" service, testing delivery robots, weaving in Google voice commands and more as people shed their pandemic lifestyles.

The San Francisco-based tech firm unveiled enhancements to its platform as it navigates tough economic conditions but looks to ride a busy travel season.

"After two years of pandemic living, 2022 is looking like a sea change," said Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

"One of the busiest travel seasons is upon us, a record-breaking number of weddings will be held this year, and climate is at the center of the global conversation."

The suite of products unveiled by Uber was intended to help users "go anywhere and get anything," he added, building on Uber's goal of being an app used for far more than simply summoning rides.

"Today, we're talking a lot about travel and reconnecting with places and people you care about," Uber Rides head of product Jen You told AFP. "But broadly speaking, we want to be your daily one-stop shop for anything, whether it's for travel, work, social, even personal errands."

Uber is testing autonomous, electric delivery robots in Los Angeles to shuttle orders from local merchants to customers in neighborhoods, Khosrowshahi said.

The delivery bots are part of an Uber goal for every ride in North America and Europe to be electric-powered by the year 2030.

Uber laid out how it is further meshing its food delivery and ride services by letting riders use the app to have orders waiting at airport or sports stadium restaurants upon arrival in a smattering of locations.

Uber said it is also weaving in the ability to let users connect Google mail, calendar and digital assistant features into the app to enable voice commands or get help with arranging travel.

"These are all part of the ultimate vision to have more touch points with consumers across their daily activities," You said.

Along with its rides service, Uber has an Eats food delivery arm that boomed during the pandemic and a Freight platform that matches truckers with shipments in a way similar to how it pairs passengers with drivers.

Source: Voice of America

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