12 Dec 2017

San Francisco Delivery Robots Will Need Permits

In San Francisco, city supervisors have approved legislation that will require delivery robots to have a permit. This comes after an earlier attempt in the year to outright ban them from the streets of the city.

Starship technologies
Starship Technologies

In an attempt to regulate the use of autonomous delivery robots, San Francisco supervisor Norman Yee originally wanted to outright ban the robots from the streets, much in the same way as bikes or skateboards are not permitted on the sidewalks, citing safety as his main concern. However, this stance has softened and has instead switched to a permitting system, approved by supervisors on Tuesday 5 December.

A maximum of nine “autonomous delivery devices” are allowed in the city at any one time, they must yield to pedestrians, travel at a top speed of 3mph (4.8km/h), and must be accompanied by human operators.

San Francisco has previously had troubles in regulating successful startups that experience a rapid surge in popularity, such as the ride-sharing service Uber, or the accommodation renting service Airbnb, and this move is a logical step for the city, given that its streets are already being used for testing by several different companies. The chief executives of Starship Technologies, Marble, and Postmates have all submitted letters to express their stance of welcoming government regulations in this matter.


References:    phys.org      recode 


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