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Pizza delivery robots are coming to Ohio

Published: Thursday, June 22, 2017 @ 1:45 PM
Updated: Saturday, July 01, 2017 @ 1:27 AM
By: Lynn Hulsey - Staff Writer

Ohio will now allow your favorite pizza restaurant to bring you your hot slices using a  compact little robot that looks pretty much like a cooler on wheels.

Gov. John Kasich signed a state budget Friday night that included allowing businesses to use a “personal delivery device” that is electrically powered and “intended to transport property on sidewalks and crosswalks.” Known as a PDD, the device cannot weigh more than 90 pounds or go faster than 10 miles per hour, quite a bit slower than those pizza delivery cars you sometimes see tearing down your street.

RELATED: $132.7 billion state budget passes Senate

The business operating it would have to follow all local regulations and actively control or monitor it as it buzzes down the sidewalk, according to the Senate budget language.

Robots made by London-based Starship Technologies are already delivering pizzas in Washington D.C. and other states are looking at making it legal for them to be on public sidewalks, according to a March NPR story.

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Starship Technologies was founded by two Skype co-founders, Janus Friis and Ahti Heinla.

According to NPR, each of the robots weighs 35 pounds and goes about 4 miles per hour on average. Lights and a tall orange flag make it visible and the locked cargo hold can be unlocked by the customer using a smart phone app.

The robot runs on its own using artificial intelligence technology, but a human operator can intervene if it runs into trouble.

If someone tries to steal it an alarm sounds, cameras take pictures, its location can be tracked and the operator can speak to the thief, according to NPR.