SF supervisor floats ban on delivery robots

San Francisco Supervisor Norman Yee introduced legislation Tuesday that would prohibit delivery robots on public streets in The City.

The robots, also known as autonomous delivery devices, transport items and products for commercial purposes and are typically operated and monitored remotely.

According to Yee, companies began testing the devices in San Francisco last year and there are currently no laws regulating them.

Yee said in a statement:

“We met with different stakeholders and concluded that the best way to protect our public right-of-way is to prohibit the use of these automated delivery robots. … Our public spaces should not be commercialized.”

San Francisco police Cmdr. Robert O’Sullivan supports the legislation and called the robots a safety risk for pedestrians, including children, seniors and those with limited mobility.

O’Sullivan said in a statement:

“If hit by a car, they also have the potential of becoming a deadly projectile.”

If the legislation is approved, violators would be subject to criminal, civil and administrative penalties with monetary fines, Yee said.

The legislation will be considered by the board next month.