Pennsylvania Passes One of Least Restrictive Autonomous Delivery Robot Laws


In November, Pennsylvania passed one of the nation’s least restrictive laws that regulate the movement speed and weight of autonomous delivery robots, writes Ryan Deto for the Pittsburgh City Paper.

The law was passed without Gov. Tom Wolf’s signature and mostly along partisan lines, with Republicans supporting it and Democrats opposing and calling it a job killer.

Laws regulating autonomous delivery robots have been primarily pushed by delivery companies such as Amazon and FedEx and opposed by pedestrian and accessibility advocates along with labor unions such as the Teamsters.

The new law classifies autonomous delivery robots, also known as Personal Delivery Devices, as pedestrians as long as they yield the right-of-way to human pedestrians and cyclists.

The Pennsylvania bill allows PDDs to weigh up to 550 pounds without cargo, compared to Washington state’s 120 pounds, for example. The speed limit on the sidewalk is 12 mph, which is the second-highest allowed speed behind only Florida at 15 mph.

Outside of sidewalks or pedestrian areas, the law allows PPDs to move 25 mph.

The law is also lacking a mechanism that would allow for municipalities to write local regulations around PDDs.

Read more about the law at the Pittsburgh City Paper by clicking here.

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