If you’re in Virginia this summer, keep an eye out for autonomous delivery robots travelling on sidewalks, crosswalks, and shared-use paths. According to TechNewsWorld, Virginia Governor Terry McAullife recently signed a law that would allow Starship Technologies’ Personal Delivery Devices (PDDs) to make deliveries of parcels, groceries, and food within a two-mile radius in a 15 to 30-minute time period.
Starship Technologies’ PDDs are six-wheeled robots – somewhat resembling a cooler. They weigh about forty pounds and can carry a workload of up to twenty pounds, travelling four miles-per-hour.
PDDs are required to obey all traffic and pedestrian control devices and signs. Much like a car, they must display a plate or marker identifying their owner’s name and contact info, and a unique identifier number. They are not regulated to transport hazardous materials, substances, or waste. While they are allowed to travel autonomously, Virginia also requires that a human operator actively control or monitor their navigation and operation.
The Commonwealth of Virginia is the first state to govern autonomous delivery robots in the United States.