Serve Robotics expands delivery to LA’s Koreatown, extends Ouster lidar pact

Serve is expanding its delivery area in Los Angeles, with plans for nationwide expansion. Source: Serve Robotics

As part of its long-term strategy to expand its geographic reach in Los Angeles and throughout the U.S., Serve Robotics Inc. last week announced the expansion of its delivery operations into Koreatown in Los Angeles. Serve has been in the city for years but is making its Koreatown debut. Koreatown Uber Eats customers could get their next orders via robot.

The company also extended its lidar supply arrangement with Ouster Inc. to equip its next-generation robots with updated sensors for increased performance. This is part of a roadmap in anticipation of scaling up its fleet for future expansions.

In April, Serve Robotics raised $40 million in its initial public offering (IPO) to expand Uber Eats deliveries. The Redwood City, Calif.-based company also signed an agreement with Magna to manufacture the delivery robots at scale.

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Why Serve Robotics added Koreatown to its routes

“Tens of thousands of households in Los Angeles have experienced the convenience of autonomous delivery, with many hundreds of restaurants on Uber Eats serving their customers in a more sustainable and reliable way,” stated Dr. Ali Kashani, co-founder and CEO of Serve. “We’re excited to bring Serve to more customers in Los Angeles and beyond, as we scale our fleet and work to deploy up to 2,000 robots in 2025.”

The company has been working with Uber Eats since 2022. Last month, Serve partnered with Uber Eats to enroll local merchants in the Koreatown area. As a result, its robots can fulfill deliveries to neighborhood residents who order through Uber Eats.

Serve said it selected Koreatown for its dense and vibrant commercial hub, growing residential community, and robust sidewalk infrastructure to support robotic delivery. It added that coverage expansion follows ongoing collaboration with Los Angeles city government and local stakeholders.

Serve is now delivering to Uber Eats app users in Koreatown. | Credit: Serve Robotics

Supply agreement with Ouster supports expansion

As part of the expanded lidar supply agreement, Serve Robotics will continue to outfit its fleet with digital lidar, using Ouster’s REV7 sensors for optimal performance. Lidar plays a critical role in Serve’s autonomy stack, enabling its robots to perceive their environment, identify their precise location, and safely navigate alongside pedestrians and other sidewalk users.

The company said it anticipates that the new sensors will improve the safety, speed, and cost-effectiveness of its fleet. It has an ambitious goal to deploy 2,000 delivery robots by 2025 on the Uber Eats platform across multiple U.S. markets.

The expanded agreement with Ouster is a small but important step on this path. Lidar makers Ouster and Velodyne merged in early 2023.

“Ouster’s lidar has been integral to our success in commercializing Level 4 autonomy at scale,” said Euan Abraham, Serve Robotics’ chief hardware and manufacturing officer. “We’ve been impressed by the reliability and performance of lidars over the past several years and are excited to sign an extended agreement that provides us with cutting-edge technology for our next-generation robot.”

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