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A new law in Arizona, United States, has allowed self-driving robots to use sidewalks and crosswalks to deliver goods.
Starship Technologies invented the robots, which use sensors to navigate sidewalks and cross streets. These robots can deliver mail, food, groceries, and other small items straight to people’s homes within 15 to 30 minutes.
Previously, motorized vehicles like delivery robots were prohibited from roaming Arizona’s sidewalks. But under the new law, the robots will have the same rights and responsibilities that people have in terms of using sidewalks. However, delivery robots need to have insurance and are required to follow a speed and weight limit. Additionally, they need to obey traffic rules and properly use crosswalks.
Despite the safety regulations, many Arizona residents are still worried about the potential dangers that the robots may pose. One resident fears that the robots can run into people, and vice versa. Another resident is concerned that people may lose their jobs to the self-driving robots.
However, Starship Technologies spokesperson Henry Harris-Burland said that the robots will not be fully autonomous. He further explained that there will be employees assigned to operate the robots to ensure safety.
More companies are now exploring the potential of autonomous delivery devices. One of which is Ele.me, an online delivery company in China. It has recently been allowed to use drones to deliver food. Unlike the delivery robots, the drones can pick up and drop off orders in fixed areas.
According to Ele.me, using the drones will help cut down the company’s operating costs and will make deliveries much faster.