Another US state legalises delivery robots on footpaths

A week after Florida passed a law permitting delivery robots to operate on its footpaths, Ohio has become the fifth state in the United States to do the same.

The law was apparently supported by lobbying from Starship Technologies, the most famous of all delivery robot developers. “We can’t operate on a permanent basis before there is a law,” said Allan Martinson, the COO of Starship.

Other states that have passed laws permitting the same are Idaho, Virginia, and Wisconsin. It should be noted that despite being developed in nearby Silicon Valley, the city government of San Francisco is considering banning the vehicles from their pavements – it isn’t a clear and fast road ahead for the technology.

The new Ohio law permits delivery robots for run on footpaths as long as they weigh less than 45kg and travel at no more than 10mph.

While the delivery robots are now permitted to run on Ohio’s pavements, Starship Technologies are not running any robots in the state. This could be a signal of plans to run them nationally, though again Starship haven’t been clear about this. What is the case, is that due to Federal Aviation Authority rules, land-based robots of this kind are more likely to take off in the US than airborne drones that the likes of Amazon are so fond of promoting. The technology of delivery robots are far simpler and potentially safer for the public. Since laws are being passed across the US right now, we could see widespread use in the very near future.  
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