Virginia Is First State to Legalize Delivery Robots

Residents of the commonwealth may soon share their sidewalks and crosswalks with robots.

Virginia is the first state to pass legislation allowing delivery robots to function on sidewalks and crosswalks across the state, according to Recode.

Ron Villanueva and Bill DeSteph, the two Virginia lawmakers who sponsored the bill, worked with robotics company, Starship Technologies, to draft the legislation.

Under the new law, robots won’t be able to go more than 10 miles per hour or weigh over 50 pounds. They will be able to operate independently.

While robots won’t have to be within the line of sight of the person in control under the law, a person is required to monitor the robot from a distance. They will be required to stay on the street or in a crosswalk.

“There wasn’t push back [from legislators]. It was more like intrigue and curiosity about the technology, what the application would be, how it would benefit the citizens,” Rep. Villanueva told Recode.

Technology companies such as Amazon informed Virginia lawmakers they’re in support of passing a robotic delivery law.

The legislation goes into effect July 1.

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