Uber unveils new products for business travelers, wedding parties, and EVs

 Uber unveils new products for business travelers, wedding parties, and EVs

Uber held its second annual product event today, where the company announced new features for business travelers, group rides, and electric vehicles. The news comes as the company’s CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, is redefining her efforts to make Uber’s core ride-hailing product profitable by reducing costs and slowing down hiring.

Just because Uber is trying to keep its costs down doesn’t mean it will stop launching new features in its ongoing effort to win new customers (or retain existing customers) and expand to in new fields. Since the pandemic, Uber has moved from trying to be “Amazon transportation” and toward a more streamlined version of itself as an auto service with a thriving shipping business.

In a blog post, Khosrowshahi said Uber’s new suite of products falls under two categories: “go anywhere” and “get anything.” The former focuses on bringing in people, while the latter focuses on the takeout food and grocery delivery business of the company.

Under “go anywhere,” the company is launching a new product called Travel on Uber which automatically books car service trips for every element of the upcoming trip, whether business or personal. Users will need to link their Gmail to their Uber account to give the app’s algorithm an overview of upcoming flights, hotel stays, and restaurant reservations. If you don’t like the idea of ​​giving Uber access to your Gmail account, the company offers a 10 percent refund that you can use on the Uber app for other services as an incentive.

Uber is looking to expand its long-standing interest in party buses with a new product called Uber Charter. It’s targeted at customers planning weddings, work trips, wine tasting … anything where you need to move multiple groups of people. Now reservations can be made through the Uber app with a first price. Uber Charter launched “across the U.S.” later this summer.

If you want to pay for a large batch of Uber rides, say, your wedding guests, offered by Uber vouchers. Customers can share a unique code with their guests that they can use to book an Uber ride that has already been paid for. Vouchers also work for Uber Eats deliveries and are also available through Uber for Business customers.

Uber has expanded the Comfort product, which is more popular than UberX but not as expensive as Uber Black, by adding electric vehicles to the mix. The company has set a goal for itself to have “100 percent” of EVs in North America by 2030. Now it is encouraging drivers to switch to EVs through a new Comfort Electric product. Only premium EVs, such as the Tesla, Polestar, and Ford Mustang Mach-E, are considered eligible for Comfort Electric rides. It will sit next to the company’s other EV product, Uber Green, which charges an additional fee (typically $ 1) for customers who use electric vehicles. Comfort Electric is now available in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, and Dubai, with more cities coming soon.

Uber also made one new hub for its drivers who use EVs to monetize the platform. The hub, which will live on Uber’s driver’s app, is billed as a “one-stop shop” (Uber loves that phrase) to compare costs between regular cars and EVs and find charging stations.

Uber also makes several announcements under the “get anything” category. Customers who own a Google Home it will now be available on smart devices to order food delivery through Uber Eats. It will start launching first to English -speaking customers, with other languages ​​to follow.

The company also partnered with two autonomous automotive companies, Serve Robotics and Motional, to test robot deliveries. Serve Robotics operates delivery robots that travel the sidewalks, while Motional uses electric Hyundai Ioniq 5 SUVs with two safety drivers in the front seats. Serve and Motional’s individual pilots with Uber Eats will be available to customers in the Los Angeles area.

Uber has been interested in using AVs to make deliveries for years. It spoke to Nuro, a startup founded by two ex-Google engineers, about using the companies ’car-sized robots to make deliveries to Uber Eats, but that never failed.

The company is expanding it Uber Eats delivery service to some stadiums as a way to allow sports fans to satisfy their hunger without missing any game. Customers can use Uber Eats to order food to be picked up at a concession stand and skip the line. Suitable stadiums include Dodger Stadium and Angel Stadium in LA; Yankee Stadium in New York City; Capital One Arena in Washington, DC; Minute Maid Park in Houston; PayPal Park in San Jose; and Roazhon Park in France.

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