More delivery robots to hit streets as new law goes into effect

House Bill 1009 officially takes effect July 1
Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 3:26 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 29, 2022 at 4:43 PM EDT
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POOLER, Ga. (WTOC) - You could soon see more robots on the streets and sidewalks here in Georgia.

House Bill 1009, which deals with personal delivery devices, or robotic delivery devices, passed back in April and officially goes into effect this Friday.

“It’s effective July 1 and it’s HB1009 and it pertains to robots. Yes, robots will be amongst us,” explains Pooler City Councilwoman Karen Williams.

Those robots, personal delivery devices, similar to the one’s currently in use at Georgia Southern.

“I actually think it’s kind of exciting,” said Pooler resident Diane Allman.

While this Bill paves the way for them to hit the pavement, it doesn’t come without restrictions.

“They cannot be used on highways with speed limits greater than 45 mph,” says Councilwoman Williams.

That along with limiting their speed to 20 mph in bike lanes and 4 mph on sidewalks.

“I feel like there’s positives and negatives,” Pooler resident Kristen Renz tells WTOC.

Some of the positives, “maybe it would even save time on delivery. Maybe less than two days free delivery,” said Allman, “that’s what I’m hoping for.”

On the other side, “I think that people need to deal with people, you know. Robots are not people and they never will be,” said fellow resident Daria Fornicola.

So yeah, it’s given people a lot to consider.

“Never thought I’d have to think about that before,” laughed Fornicola.

That’s exactly why Councilwoman Williams wanted the information out there.

“This was to prevent shock and awe. When people start seeing robots in their neighborhood now, they’ll know what it’s all about.”

Although it is law, cities do have a say on certain things, like time of operation and whether they can operate at schools hospitals or stadiums, meaning.

“Cities will need to do an ordinance,” Williams says.

But whether you’re ready or not, robots are on their way.

Councilwoman Williams says you can expect to see an ordinance regarding the robots in the next few weeks along with a public hearing on the topic.

More information on the bill:

- Robots must leave a 4-foot zone for persons with disabilities on highways and sidewalks.

- They will emit a sound when within 6 feet of a vehicle or person.

- They must have braking systems.

- Lights must be visible from 500 feet and have prominently displayed ID numbers and contact information.

- Local governments can prohibit hours of operation on sidewalks, bike baths, and shared paths as long as the restrictions do not prohibit operations between sunrise and sunset.

- Local governments can prohibit operation on property of schools, hospitals, stadiums, coliseums, or government buildings.

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