Sharing Spaces with Robots: The Basics of Personal Delivery Devices

Source: Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC)

Innovations in autonomous technologies are making it possible to expand the use of robotic vehicles into new environments, as is the case for the emerging technology and increasing use of personal delivery devices (PDDs) to deliver goods in spaces normally occupied by pedestrians and bicyclists. Also referred to as sidewalk delivery robots, PDDs are now permitted by many states to operate and deliver goods on sidewalks and in crosswalks and bike lanes, which sets up interactions between PDDs and people walking and biking. A wide variety of types of PDDs introduces additional challenges due to the variations in physical form and travel behaviors and patterns.

A new information brief clarifies terms for PDDs, describes their physical and operational characteristics, and provides an overview of key policy and research areas affecting their deployment with an emphasis on pedestrians and bicyclists. The brief is intended for transportation professionals and communities where PDDs are being considered, tested, or deployed. A PDD Legislative Tracker website provides up-to-date State Legislative Bill information about PDDs and PDD characteristics and operations included within these bills. A webinar with the Eno Center for Transportation explored the Information Brief and discussed findings further.

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