Virginia has made robotics history. The commonwealth is the first state to pass legislation allowing delivery robots to operate on sidewalks and crosswalks across the state.
The new law goes into effect on July 1 and was signed into law by the governor last Friday.
The two Virginia lawmakers who sponsored the bill, Ron Villanueva and Bill DeSteph, teamed up with Starship Technologies, an Estonian-based ground delivery robotics company, to draft the legislation.
Robots operating under the new law won’t be able to exceed 10 miles per hour or weigh over 50 pounds, but they will be allowed to rove autonomously.
According to Villanueva, Amazon and Grubhub sent Virginia lawmakers letters of support to pass the new robotic delivery law. Both companies will likely become the competition for Starship Technologies, who helped draft the bill and is already testing delivery robots in partnership with Postmates in Washington, D.C, and California. Idaho and Florida are reportedly close to passing similar legislation.