Humanoid robots could be delivering our pizzas while driverless Uber cars could be equipped with artificial intelligence chatbots, the chief executive of the ride-hailing giant predicted on Monday.
Speaking about the future of Uber at the World Government Summit in Dubai, Travis Kalanick declared that his firm is “at the beginning of becoming a robotics” company as vehicles become autonomous.
“Imagine now a car that is delivering food but doesn’t have [a] driver. How do you get the food? You could come down and get it but if you have three kids … you want somebody to bring it up. And at some point there is going to be a humanoid that crawls up your stairs .. and hands you your pizza,” Kalanick said.
The Uber boss spoke about the situation today when people are unable to find their driver. In this instance, users of the app call the driver to locate them.
“But when the car doesn’t have a driver who do I talk to? I’m going to talk to some AI agent or what they call a chatbot. I’m going to talk to an AI to get connected to that car,” Kalanick forecasted.
Uber has been investing heavily in self-driving cars and has partnered with automakers to bring these to market. But Kalanick is also heavily focused on the future. Uber recently hired Mark Moore, a 30-year NASA veteran, to head up the firm’s flying car project.
The start-up, which is reportedly valued at more than $60 billion, has also launched other features using its vast transport network such as UberEATS, its food delivery service. This is where something like a humanoid robot to deliver pizza could come into play.
“It sounds futuristic and sci-fi but that’s where the world is going,” he added, speaking about a five-to-ten-year time frame.
Kalanick used a lot of his talk to tout the benefits of self-driving cars and ride sharing such as improving traffic and reducing pollution. He also said the rise of ride-sharing is reducing the appetite of millennials to own cars.