Transportation Systems Casebook/Sidewalk Based Delivery Robots)


Starship Technologies is a startup company building fleets of self-driving delivery robots designed to deliver goods locally within 30 minutes in up to a three-mile radius from a local hub. The robots drive autonomously 99% of the time to make safe and environmentally friendly curb-side deliveries. Launched by Skype co-founders, Starship’s aim is to fundamentally reshape how goods are shipped and delivered.

Annotated List of ActorsEdit

Ahti HeinlaEdit

CEO, CTO and co-founder of Starship Technologies. Also a co-founder of Skype. [1]

Timeline of EventsEdit



Policy IssuesEdit

SB1207 – Allows for the operation of electric personal delivery devices on the sidewalks and shared-use paths and across roadways on crosswalks in the Commonwealth unless otherwise prohibited by a locality. The bill directs that such devices shall not be considered vehicles and are exempt from the motor carrier provisions of Title 46.2 (Motor Vehicles).

This legislation has a potential fiscal impact to localities. It allows any locality to prohibit usage of personal delivery devices on any given sidewalk or crosswalk in the same manner as it can prohibit use of roller skates, skateboards, and bicycles, provided the governing body erects adequate signage. Localities choosing to prohibit usage of personal delivery devices on any given sidewalk or crosswalk would be required to incur the costs to provide signage in compliance with the act. The legislation also carries a potential to generate revenue for the locality, as violations of local ordinances would be subject to a fine of no more than $50.

"Electric personal delivery device" means an electrically powered device that (i) is operated on sidewalks, shared-use paths, and crosswalks and intended primarily to transport property; (ii) weighs less than 50 pounds, excluding cargo; (iii) has a maximum speed of 10 miles per hour; and (iv) is equipped with technology to allow for operation of the device with or without the active control or monitoring of a natural person.

"Electric personal delivery device operator" means an entity or its agent who exercises direct physical control or monitoring over the navigation system and operation of an electric personal delivery device. For the purposes of this definition, "agent" means a person not less than 16 years of age charged by an entity with the responsibility of navigating and operating an electric personal delivery device. "Electric personal delivery device operator" does not include (i) an entity or person who requests the services of an electric personal delivery device to transport property or (ii) an entity or person who only arranges for and dispatches the requested services of an electric personal delivery device.

Maps of LocationsEdit

Narrative of the CaseEdit

Lessons LearnedEdit

Discussion QuestionsEdit

Further ReadingEdit

  1. [1], Crunchbase Profile.