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April 24, 2017

A robot-delivery startup helped write state laws that are locking out competition

  • Elected Body
  • Statute
  • Robotics/AI

Recode – Two U.S. states — Virginia and Idaho — have now passed laws to allow delivery robots to operate statewide.

The new laws, both of which were passed this year, were written with the help of Starship Technologies, a delivery-robot company based in Estonia that was founded by Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis, two of the co-founders of Skype.

While Starship isn’t currently working in Virginia or Idaho, the company can now legally operate its robot in those states — without a person controlling it — on sidewalks and crosswalks. Starship’s 40-pound robots are designed to deliver things like meals, groceries and other on-demand goods. Similar legislation is now being proposed in Wisconsin.

But other robot-delivery companies might not be able to take advantage of the new laws.

Read more at Recode.

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