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It Just Gets Nuttier: Idaho Legislature Will Consider Robot Bill

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A measure that would clear the way for sidewalk-traveling robots to deliver packages to Gem State residents has been given the green light by a Idaho Legislature panel for a full public hearing.

In one of the more bizarre presentations in recent memory, lobbyist Teresa Molitor, representing Starship Technologies, Inc., stood before the House State Affairs Committee Wednesday morning, proposing new rules that would grant approval for robot delivery.

"They're environmentally friendly. They have advanced anti-theft technology. They can only be unlocked by the end-user. Currently the robots are being used in Europe; Redwood City, Calif.; and D.C.," said Molitor. "To date, the robots have encountered more than 3.1 million people with no incident."

The Starship Technologies robots, the brainchild of some of the developers of Skype Technology, are battery-powered, weigh approximately 35 pounds and travel four to six miles per hour.

"And they would come to a complete stop if encountering a pedestrian, cyclist, baby carriage, etc., " said Molitor. "If approved, they would only operate on sidewalks or crosswalks—never on a public highway."

Molitor told the panel she had talked with the Ada County Highway District, Idaho Department of Transportation and local law enforcement.

"And so far, we haven't had any negative feedback on the bill," she said, adding that a similar measure had passed in Virginia.

With that, the House State Affairs Committee voted unanimously to hold a full public hearing on the proposal.




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