New rules considered for food-delivery robots

Image above provided by Starship Technologies.

Daily Post Staff Writer
Robots roaming Redwood City streets may have to wear name tags if the City Council continues to allow them to deliver food in the city.

Since February, Starship Technologies’ cooler-sized robots have been delivering food throughout the city in partnership with delivery apps DoorDash and Post Mates.

The council approved the original robot delivery program with Starship last November, and since then another robot company has approached the city for additional delivery services, according to
a report from Economic Development Manager Catherine Ralston.

The new agreement would require the robots to have a plate or marker with the robot’s company and contact information and require the company to notify the city of any instances where anyone or anything has been injured by the robot, according to Ralston.

Ralston’s report mentions that two “complaints” have been lodged regarding the robots, but does not go into details.

Starship did not return the Post’s messages asking about incidents involving the robots.

The Starship agreement will expire in December 2018 and that will allow one additional robot company to start deliveries in Redwood City, according to Ralston.

Redwood City was the first West Coast city to partner with Starship. Others that have since partnered with Starship are Palo Alto, San Carlos, Foster City, Sunnyvale, Walnut Creek and Concord.