What the… “delivery robot to start testing a delivery program as early as this September” in the District

Thanks to a reader for passing on from The Verge:

“Starship — the company behind the adorable, six-wheeled delivery robot we met this year at Mobile World Congress — has received approval from the Washington, DC Department of Transportation to start testing a delivery program as early as this September…the company still needs to figure out a number of things before its robots hit the sidewalks of DC. For one, it’s not exactly sure where it will run the tests. The PDD Pilot Act forbids Starship (and any other company) from operating its robots anywhere in the city’s Central Business District (as defined by the DOT), but everywhere else in the District of Columbia is fair game.”

Stay tuned…

24 Comment

  • I predict this will be a complete failure – at least in DC – and will be halted very early in the testing phase.

  • Two words: Oblivious drivers.
    *drops mic*

  • It couldn’t do any worse than UPS in my neighborhood.
    And I would love to use it for pizza delivery (as long as it is secured until it gets to my place) because I’m pretty sure the pizza delivery guy is doing something nasty to the pizza.

  • it’ll make it about 3 blocks before stolen, vandalized, or run over.

    • Exactly my thoughts…. I heard about their being a camera inside, but I don’t believe that will stop people from messing with it. I can see this doing well in other areas… just not DC. Too much vandalizing going on here. I can see this doing well in Old Town, or Arlington…

  • So how long till someone steals the robot?

  • It will meet a similar fate to HitchBOT, which was beheaded on the streets of Philadelphia by a dude-bro in an Eagles jersey. ’nuff said.
    http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/03/us/hitchbot-robot-beheaded-philadelphia-feat/

  • Location is key. They’re going to have to find the perfect D.C. cross-section of yuppie self-absorption and inner-city violence. Welcome to Shaw, Starship!

  • How is this supposed to make it more than 1 block if it can’t go up or down curbs? Hopefully it will bring some awareness to the sorry state of ADA compliance this city is in.

    • What is sad is the DC streets are ADA compliant far and away better than some places. New Orleans likely doesn’t know it is supposed to be.

  • People can’t even keep a bike chained up outside for 10 minutes without it being stolen … I’d love for this to take off, but still too many criminals in DC (sad but true!)

  • I already have a hard enough time getting pizza delivery people to enter my building and bring the pizza to my apartment on the 6th floor; I am not paying for delivery to have go down to the lobby. This thing will just make that worse.

    • Hah — we all have our lines I guess. To me, this is a funny one to draw. Delivery is what, like $3-5? And it will take the thing 97% of the way to you.
      .
      Beyond that though, I’m curious what building with 6 floors would ever let delivery men in and up to the units unaccompanied. I know my girlfriend had her old apartment robbed by a pizza guy who someone let in the front door. I’d much rather walk down to the lobby considering that experience.

      • Every apartment building I’ve lived in, in DC and Arlington, have allowed delivery to come straight to your door after signing in at the front desk.

    • Yes, lines, exactly. When I decide to order food in, it’s because I have decided that I don’t want to do anything, including getting dressed to go out in public, even the lobby. (I’ll answer my own door in my pajamas, but I won’t go to the lobby dressed that way. Again, lines.)
      It doesn’t seem a lot to ask them to come to my door, considering the delivery fee and the tip.
      As for the building, it’s not really their call; I buzz the delivery person in, they come up.

      In any case, I suppose I have a little time before the delivery bots eliminate live people.

  • LOL this will not end well! These things will be stolen or destroyed immediately!

  • Another thing for the street car to run into…

  • Robot mangled by package thieves: “This is why we can’t have nice things”

  • That would be so cool!

  • OMG flying cars any day now!

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