SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – 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.
“The supervisor recognizes that San Francisco is the hub of innovation and wants to encourage that,” Erica Maybaum, Yee’s legislative aide, told KCBS. “But it really can’t be at the expense of safety, economic impact of residents, and there are privacy concerns that need to be looked at.”
According to Yee, companies began testing the devices in San Francisco last year and there are currently no laws regulating them.
“The one that did a pilot in the Mission that was one where we found out about it and it didn’t have any permits. It had nothing,” Maybaum said.
“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,” Yee said in a statement. “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.
“If hit by a car, they also have the potential of becoming a deadly projectile,” O’Sullivan said in a statement.
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.
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