Starting July 1, robots will legally have the right to roam sidewalks and crosswalks in the state of Virginia.
Under this new law, robots weighing less than 50 pounds can roam autonomously on sidewalks, as long as their speed doesn’t exceed 10 mph. The robot must also be remotely monitored by a human (although it doesn’t need to be within sight of its human handler). And if it needs to cross the street at any point, it can’t jaywalk—it’s got to use crosswalks, Recode reports.
State legislators Ron Villanueva and Bill DeSteph developed the law in partnership with Starship Technologies. Starship is an Estonian-based company that makes a small, ground-based delivery robot. Its robots are currently being tested for food delivery with Postmatesin Washington, D.C. and DoorDash in Redwood City, California. (We should note that Domino’s Pizza is also exploring the robotic deliveryroute. It’s using robots built by Australian startup Marathon Robotics, though.)