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Delivery Robots Will Now Need Permits To Replace Us

They’ll have to sign up to deliver food on SF streets

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Marble/Yelp Eat24

A San Francisco Supervisor’s proposal to outright prohibit delivery robots from crawling city sidewalks has been watered down, amended to include a permit system that will let local companies register to test their technology in certain areas. This spring, District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee came out swinging against the possibility of delivery bots, like those deployed by Yelp’s Eat24 service, clogging sidewalks. But other supervisors have softened Yee’s legislation, and perhaps his opinion, on the delivery bots.

“We’re still focusing on the issue, to regulate our sidewalks,” Yee tells Eater. “Traditionally — if people do care about tradition — we give priority on sidewalks to people.” Here, Yee points out that bicycles and skateboards are prohibited from city sidewalks.

But, he adds, “There’s alway a conflict in terms of what we value, and another value we also have is supporting our homegrown businesses. In this case, I think there’s a way to do both.” After amendments to the original legislation (below), Yee’s proposal passed, and will now head to committee. The proposal now calls for the creation of a permitting system and guidelines.

One delivery robot manufacturer, Marble, has been in conversation with Yee during the legislative process. They’re the SF-based company behind Yelp’s Eat 24 delivery devices.

“Marble is committed to continuing San Francisco’s legacy of developing the world's leading technology,” Marble CEO Matt Delaney said according to a press release. “[We support a framework that allows for the manufacturing or testing of autonomous delivery systems.”