The pandemic has sparked many of us to get groceries and more delivered to our door. Now, there’s proposed legislation preparing to go high-tech with delivery service, minus the driver.
Not R2D2, but the Roxo, got plenty of attention as it scooted around the Capitol Rotunda. FedEx is testing the autonomous delivery device prototype in cities around the country.
Del. Clay Riley, R-Harrison, is the lead sponsor on House Bill 4675. Riley said to continue bringing cutting edge technology like the Roxo to West Virginia, a framework for regulation and public safety measures sets us up for the future.
“Right now, the technology has an about five mile delivery range. It can climb stairs, it can go over sidewalks, it can go over crosswalks,” Riley said. “But eventually, that will continue to expand out. And so they want to be able to test it here and bring it to West Virginia.”
Roxo travels on sidewalks and the sides of roads. It’s remotely operated, carries $100,000 in road insurance, and as Scott Pauchnik with FedEx explains, it knows how to safely maneuver anywhere.”
“It knows everything uses all the greatest technologies out there from LIDAR to radar, and other technologies to make sure that it maps and can see everything that’s in front of it and going on,” Pauchnik said.
The speed restrictions are 12.5 mph on sidewalks and 20 mph on the side of the road. These personal delivery devices basically have the same rights and right-of-way as a pedestrian or a bicycle.
The Roxo is designed for delivery, anything from that pizza for the big ball game to grandma’s medications from the pharmacy.
“As you begin to see, unfortunately, less and less brick-and-mortar stores,” Riley said, “this might be an opportunity to see a little bit of revitalization of those, because they have an option for delivery.”
“This is primarily for suburban and urban areas,” Pauchnik said. “But who knows, I mean, the sky’s the limit here. It may not be able to right now go down the holler. But it will be delivering goods to those metro spots in the state.”
Riley’s bill passed 87-8 in the House and is now out of the Senate Economic Development Committee and heading to the Senate floor. Riley says with such a great West Virginia reception, the Mountain State may be on the shortlist for driverless delivery – right to your door.