Virginia First State to Pass Law Allowing Robots for Delivery
Virginia is the first state to pass legislation allowing delivery robots to function on sidewalks and crosswalks across the state, according to Recode. Ron Villanueva and Bill DeSteph, the two Virginia lawmakers who sponsored the bill, worked with robotics company Starship Technologies, a ground delivery robotics company, to draft the legislation. Under the new law, robots won’t be able to go more than 10 miles per hour or weigh more than 50 pounds. They will be able to operate independently, but under the law, a person must be monitoring the robot from a distance. The robots will also be required to stay on the street or in a crosswalk. The legislation goes into effect July 1. Legislation similar to what passed in Virginia has been proposed in Idaho and Florida.
Total Retail's Take: The robot law is being enthusiastically supported by retailers that rely on quick and efficient delivery. In fact, companies like Amazon.com and Grubhub sent Virginia lawmakers letters of support to pass the new robotic delivery law. Other ground delivery robotics companies are also hoping the new law will create opportunities for them as well. Companies like Marble and Dispatch, for example, are also working to bring robots for autonomous delivery to city sidewalks.