Governor John Bel Edwards has signed into law a measure that creates the framework for self-driving delivery robots to carry packages, food, etc. on the state’s streets. Port Allen Senator Rick Ward said they aren’t self-driving cars per se but more comparable to drones.

“It’s a smaller thing that would operate in neighborhoods and places like that, it would be utilized to deliver anything from pharmacy goods to food,” said Ward.

Included in the framework of Senate Bill 147 are regulations that the devices must yield to pedestrians, cannot obstruct traffic or transport hazardous materials.

Ward said neighborhood stores could utilize a service company to deliver their goods to consumers in the area.

“Companies such as, I don’t know, FedEx, maybe Amazon, any of those types that would want to come in and have those set up in front of those neighborhoods or around those neighborhoods so they could utilize the service,” said Ward.

Ward said the innovation of the delivery devices is ideal for those who have limited transportation, like the elderly, and the robots could deliver their prescriptions.

The devices will be limited on the speed at which they can operate, and Ward said they also won’t be permitted for use around airports. Local municipalities will also be able to set regulations for the devices.

“But having that framework set up to let these different delivery services know that we’re open to the concept was significant to me,” said Ward.

The delivery robots must also have lights on the front and rear of the device and also maintain at least $100,000 of insurance.

Several other states have passed similar laws.

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