SF sets fees for sidewalk delivery robot testing

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved fees that autonomous delivery robot companies will need to cough up in order to obtain a permit to test delivery devices on a limited number of streets.

Robot delivery companies like Marble, based in the Potrero Hill neighborhood, will need to pay an application fee of $860 to test one device, $1,540 to test two devices and $1,995 for three devices.

The Department of Public Works is in charge of issuing the testing permits to companies for 180 days. The Public Works director can grant companies up to two 90-day extensions.

Companies will need to pay a permit extension fee to Public Works of $555 for one device, $1,010 for two devices and $1,465 for three devices.

Supervisor Norman Yee last year proposed to not allow delivery robots roam around city streets citing safety concerns for pedestrians, seniors and disabled persons. Members of Walk San Francisco were also in favor of not allowing the delivery robots to use the sidewalk.

Yee presented a compromise last October after speaking with many of the companies to only allow them to test the delivery robots in a specific part of The City zoned as Production, Distribution and Repair, also known as a PDR zone.

The board will take a second vote on the fees next week and become effective 30 days after the mayor signs the ordinance.