Virginia green lights delivery robots

The US state of Virginia’s government has passed legislation that will permit delivery robots to use footpaths and shared-use paths across the state, “unless otherwise prohibited by a locality”.

The new state wide legislation was introduced by Delegate Ronald A Villanueva, and was passed by both the House and Senate on Friday 24th February. It has also been signed into law by the state governor.

According to its official billing on the Virginia’s Legislative Information System (LIS), HB 2016 “Allows for the operation of electric personal delivery devices on the sidewalks and shared-use paths and across roadways on crosswalks in the Commonwealth unless otherwise prohibited by a locality. The bill directs that such devices shall not be considered vehicles and are exempt from the motor carrier provisions of Title 46.2 (Motor Vehicles).”

As Apex Insight has reported in the past, in June last year the Washington DC city council allowed Starship Technologies to test their delivery robots around the Capital. Virginia is one of the states that abuts DC and many government workers live in the DC suburbs in the state.

Starship is understood to have supported the legislation, with Amazon and GrubHub also sending letters of support. State laws for robot delivery systems have also been proposed in Idaho and Florida.

Where ground level robots have been generally accepted, institutional paranoia about all things airborne seems to be blocking the US from permitting airborne delivery drones. Other countries such as the UK are gleefully taking the lead in this regard… 
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