Boise's sidewalks may be getting a little bit cramped soon.

Not by skateboarders or dog-walkers, but by little rolling delivery robots.

The people at Starship Technologies met with Idaho lawmakers to discuss a bill that would regulate the tiny delivery vehicles. What exactly can the little contraptions carry? Pretty much anything according to their developer. So far they're mostly being used to carry groceries and small packages.

Sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, right? An unmanned robot randomly rolling down sidewalks and streets? Luckily, it's a little more complicated than that. The delivery robots have nine cameras to help avoid collisions, and they can "see" up to 15 feet in any direction.

Tristan Fewings / Stringer
Tristan Fewings / Stringer

Ordering using the robot is pretty straight forward. When you order groceries online, you select "Starship" as your delivery method, and off the robot goes. So, what's the point? Why tiny little tank-looking droids? David Catania from Starship Technologies explains:

What we're looking at is cutting down on the 20,000-pound trucks that are doing deliveries and cutting down on the number of times you take your 2,000-pound car to pick up 20 pounds of groceries. It weighs about 35 pounds and is capable of doing these round trips in 30 minutes for less than a dollar. So we think it's just a win, win for everyone.

While the robots would be new to Boise if the bill passes, they've already found success in Washington D.C., and over in Europe in the UK and Switzerland.

There's no timeline yet on when we could possibly see the little vehicles on Boise's sidewalks.


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