Sunday March 05, 2017

Virginia Passes Law Allowing Robots to Deliver Straight to Your Door

Does this mean that Virginians won’t have to tip for pizza delivery? Residents of the Old Dominion may be seeing an uptick in metal faces on their city sidewalks with the passing of legislation that makes robotic delivery possible. Now they just need to figure out that whole vandalism and theft thing.

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Virginia has made robotics history. The commonwealth is the first state to pass legislation allowing delivery robots to operate on sidewalks and crosswalks across the state. The new law goes into effect on July 1 and was signed into law by the governor last Friday. The two Virginia lawmakers who sponsored the bill, Ron Villanueva and Bill DeSteph, teamed up with Starship Technologies, an Estonian-based ground delivery robotics company, to draft the legislation. Robots operating under the new law won’t be able to exceed 10 miles per hour or weigh over 50 pounds, but they will be allowed to rove autonomously. The law doesn’t require robots to stay within line of sight of a person in control, but a person is required to at least remotely monitor the robot and take over if it goes awry. Robots are only allowed on streets in a crosswalk.