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Washington passes law allowing robots to take over the streets

Washington Governor Jay Inslee (main picture) has signed a bill allowing delivery robots to take over the streets.

Governor Inslee approved House Bill 1325, thereby creating the framework to regulate what are termed “Personal Delivery Devices”, or PDDs, across the entire state.

The legislation specifically permits the use of Starship Technologies’ robots – or PDDs – in the state of Washington and marks the eighth state-wide approval for such machines on sidewalks and crosswalks in the US.

In 2017, Virginia passed the first state law in the US to regulate the devices and was soon followed by Idaho, Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio, Utah and Arizona.

Starship often works with states when it comes to regulations around PDDs and played a key role in this bill.

Starship Technologies is the world’s leading autonomous delivery service and operates commercially on a daily basis around the world.

Its zero-emission robots have completed over 50,000 deliveries and travelled more than 200,000 miles around the world.

The robots reduce congestion and pollution through the use a combination of sophisticated machine learning, artificial intelligence and sensors to travel on sidewalks and navigate around obstacles, thereby removing cars and vans from the delivery process.

The computer vision-based navigation helps the robots to map their environment to the nearest inch, to ensure safety and convenience for pedestrians.

Starship robots can cross streets, climb curbs, travel at night and operate in both rain and snow.

In addition, the robots are stored in pods where their batteries are automatically switched so they can continue to operate independently, with no human involvement.

Lex Bayer, CEO of Starship Technologies, says: “We’d like to thank Representative Shelley Kloba, Senator Marko Liias and Governor Jay Inslee for their support on this bill.

“They appreciate how technology will shape our future and the positive impact delivery robots provide for the people of Washington, local businesses and the environment. We look forward to becoming a valued part of the community.”