PennDOT Seeking Local Input on Road Robots

The state Department of Transportation is currently developing rules for personal delivery devices, or autonomous robots, that are designed to deliver packages to consumers in Pennsylvania. Act 106 of 2020 authorizes the use of these devices in sidewalks and pedestrian areas and along the berms of roads posted at 25 mile per hour or less. Townships could prohibit these devices on local roads and pedestrian areas if they would constitute a hazard. 

PennDOT has broad authority to regulate these devices and is working to develop rules before Act 106 takes effect on January 29, 2021. Entities that wish to operate these devices must first apply to PennDOT and if approved, must notify any municipality in which they plan to operate 30 days in advance. In the first phase, operators must manually operate the devices and be within 30 feet of them. After successful completion of the first phase, the devices may operate autonomously but must be monitored by an operator who can take control of the device if needed. 

PennDOT is interested in the constructive input of township officials of items of concerns and elements that should be considered as part of the authorization process. Please provide input to penndotav@pa.gov by December 15. Please copy Holly Fishel, PSATS Policy and Research Director at hfishel@psats.org.  

Click here to read Act 106 and learn more about the rules for these devices. Click here to learn more about what these devices look like.