April 12, 2021

New Law Classifies Delivery Robots as “Pedestrians”

1 min read
Car and Driver reports that the Keystone State technically defines delivery robots as “pedestrians” under a newly implemented measure. The law, which went into effect earlier this year, stipulates that autonomous delivery robots can maneuver on sidewalks, pathways, and roadways in Pennsylvania. They can carry up to 550 pounds of cargo at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour on roadways but must cap their speed at 12 miles per hour in human — presumably — pedestrian areas.

The state of Pennsylvania is now classifying select robots as humans — at least when it comes to its traffic laws.

Car and Driver reports that the Keystone State technically defines delivery robots as “pedestrians” under a newly implemented measure. The law, which went into effect earlier this year, stipulates that autonomous delivery robots can maneuver on sidewalks, pathways, and roadways in Pennsylvania. They can carry up to 550 pounds of cargo at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour on roadways but must cap their speed at 12 miles per hour in human — presumably — pedestrian areas.

As lawmakers worldwide grapple with how to regulate new autonomous driving and flying technologies, Pennsylvania reportedly became the 12th state in the U.S. to grant delivery robots access to both roads and pedestrian paths.

Although robots provide obvious benefits for both businesses and logistics companies — not to mention keeping carbon-emitting delivery vehicles off the road — urban planners have warned that deploying them without a broad overhaul of streets and sidewalks mapped out decades or even centuries ago would negate those benefits and compromise safety.

The tech haven of San Francisco, Car and Driver notes, banned them from most city streets four years ago, citing potential safety concerns.

Image Credit: Thomas Industry Update

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