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Sidewalks aren’t just for walking anymore.

Citizens surprised by the sudden onslaught of electric scooters on San Jose sidewalks will soon be confronted with another competitor in the space previously considered the domain of pedestrians, according to a robotics company.

Starship Technologies has just announced a press conference for Friday, at which San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo is expected to help “welcome Starship delivery robots to the city.”

The Estonia-based startup’s sidewalk-crawling robots resemble wheeled ice coolers. After they were deployed in San Francisco last year, the city’s government imposed severe limitations on their use, limiting their speed and requiring a human handler.

“The San Jose approval is a stepping stone for the company to revolutionize vast adoption of Personal Delivery Devices,” Starship said in a news release Monday.

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This news organization is awaiting a response from San Jose city officials to questions about use of the robots in the city. This story will be updated with any response received.

Redwood City had allowed a pilot program that saw about a dozen Starship robots delivering food and groceries. City officials declared the program a success and in November opened the way for another similar firm to operate, as long as sidewalk robots had company markers on them, followed more defined routes and safety issues were reported within 24 hours, according to The Daily Journal.

The reported San Jose deployment plan comes as sidewalk users in San Jose and other Bay Area cities contend with a deluge of easy-to-rent electric scooters that “just sort of appeared,” in the words of San Jose Councilman Raul Peralez.

…read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


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