Potential law change could bring delivery robots to Ohio

Potential law could bring robotic delivery to Ohio

How would you like to walk down the street and see a robot rolling on by? A change in the state law could make that an everyday sight in Ohio cities.

In most places in America, it’s not technically legal for a robot to travel on the sidewalk. But a provision in the senate budget, passed Thursday, would allow certain types of robots to be considered pedestrians. That means they could navigate crosswalks and sidewalks and travel right up to your house.

A robotic courier can deliver packages, groceries or even pizza.

The new provision in the senate budget has some stipulations.

The device must:

-weigh less than 90 pounds, excluding property to be delivered
-travel no faster than 10 miles per hour
-yield the right-of-way to human pedestrians

A person would have to control it or at least be ready to take control at all times.

The company Starship Technologies wants to roll its bots into Ohio.

Starship says the bots help control congestion and pollution by reducing delivery cars and vans on the road.

Its 2-foot-tall robots generally deliver within a two mile radius. They have obstacle detection so they don’t bump into things or people. The robots can detect theft and tampering. You’re the only one who can open the compartment for your delivery. The company says after more than 40,000 miles of driving around the world, it hasn’t had a single incident of theft.

The Starship bots are already at work, in Washington, D.C.

Wisconsin, Idaho and Virginia have recently passed similar laws and it seems Ohio could be next.

The final budget bill is being negotiated between the house and senate, but it must be passed before July 1.

© 2017 WKYC-TV


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