Autonomous delivery robots are starting to pop up in cities around the globe and it looks like the US is also getting in on the action. The Dallas City Council has greenlighted a new pilot program that will bring delivery bots to businesses and residences around the city.
Autonomous Delivery Robots to Be Tested in Dallas
For the next six months, delivery robots will be traversing the sidewalks and crosswalks of Dallas as part of a test program. San Francisco-based company Marble will be sending around 20 robots to deliver things like takeout, groceries, and prescriptions.
Marble’s electric powered robots roll around on four wheels at about 5 mph. Onboard cameras and sensors help the robots to navigate the streets and avoid any people or objects that may get in their way. To ensure safety during the tests, a human “ambassador” will be within 20 feet of the robots at all times. For now, the robots will have a delivery range of about 2 miles and be limited to sidewalks and crosswalks. When the robots reach their destination, customers can access their deliveries via a keypad.
Delivery Robots Reducing Congestion and Vehicle Emissions
Along with making deliveries, city officials see other benefits with the delivery bots. They could reduce congestion and vehicle emissions by cutting the number of delivery vans on Dallas’ streets. The autonomous delivery bots will also share the data it collects with the city.
While the program has officially started, it may take a few weeks or months to start seeing these little robots making actual deliveries. Due to the restrictions, Marble has to map out accessible routes in the delivery areas. A similar program was launched in nearby Arlington back in August and robots have yet to start making deliveries. Similar tests are also being conducted in cities like San Francisco and Washington DC.