In a bid to expand the scope and presence of its delivery service, Uber has opened up its UberRUSH API for developers.
The open API will enable app developers and companies looking to add a delivery aspect to their service to do so through Uber's vast ride-hailing network. The public rollout of the API follows a private beta test, which was launched in January this year.
Until now, UberRUSH was only available in Chicago, New York and San Francisco, with plans to add more cities to the list. Uber partnered with several retail heavyweights, including Google Express, Nordstrom and Walmart, as part of its pilot project, Fortune reported.
The San Francisco-based company said that, as its UberRUSH service evolves, it expects to see its driver network drive customers and deliver goods at the same time. The service will charge merchants per delivery.
“We’re always looking for ways to be a lot more efficient in terms of how we spend drivers’ time,” said UberRUSH Product Manager Calvin Lee. “We are interested in these big logistics problems that come from moving both people and things.”
In a presentation, Uber demonstrated a use case, which featured San Francisco-based Pythagoras Pizza, an artisanal pizza company. Using UberRUSH, the pizza company was able to expand its delivery reach beyond the two neighborhoods that it could provide for on its own. With no walk-in restaurant location for customers, UberRUSH's service works even better for the pizza startup as it could now essentially call itself an on-demand startup.
Uber's move to expand the geographic presence and availability of its instant delivery service now puts it in a much stronger place to compete with on-demand services, like Amazon Prime Now and Postmates.
“There are some very, very big companies who are setting th[ese] expectations in the marketplace,” said Uber Head of Platform Chris Saad, talking about the demand and strong foothold that giants like Amazon have on the market.