Unmanned delivery robots can now legally travel on sidewalks and in crosswalks in Florida, after Governor Rick Scott signed a new law that permits their operation in the state, as long as a human can take over operation of the robots remotely in the event that something goes wrong.
Florida joins Virginia, Idaho and Wisconsin, who all finalized similar legislation in their respective states earlier this year.
These state laws were passed with the support of Starship Technologies, a company that creates these types of robots, and has been testing them in in Redwood City, California and Washington, D.C. this year. Lobbyists for Starship worked on all of the state proposals.
Starship’s robots are used to deliver packages, such as food or retail items ordered online, directly to the doorsteps of customers. The robots weigh 45 pounds when empty, which falls below the 80-pound cut off mark implemented by the new law. The law also says that the robots cannot travel faster than 10 miles per hour.
While Starship currently isn’t operating in Florida, a representative from the company tells Recode.net that Starship plans on launching a pilot program in Florida sometime this year.
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