Amazon’s self-driving delivery robots are green-lit for Virginia. And not just on sidewalks.
Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) package delivery robots could soon hit Virginia’s sidewalks and roadways.
The General Assembly has made quick work of a bill that would clear the way for Scout, Amazon’s six-wheeled delivery robot, to operate in the commonwealth. The legislation was adopted by the House of Delegates Tuesday by an 88-12 vote. It unanimously cleared the Senate Feb. 11.
Minor differences between the House and Senate versions will have to be worked out in committee before the bill heads to Gov. Ralph Northam for his signature.
Under the bill adopted by the House, the robots would be allowed to travel on sidewalks or on the shoulder of a maximum 25 mph road if a sidewalk isn’t available and the bot’s movement doesn’t disrupt traffic. The House bill also removes these robots from a list of motorized-wheeled contraptions — like scooters, skateboards or electric bicycles — that city and county governments are allowed to ban from sidewalks and crosswalks.
The localities and the Commonwealth Transportation Board, which regulates and funds state transportation projects, would also be prohibited from banning Scout from these roads, per the bill, but they could “adopt additional requirements designed to maintain safety.”
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