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A San Francisco supervisor introduced legislation this week to ban the use of small, food-delivery robots on city sidewalks, citing pedestrian safety in the latest battle over government regulation of 21st Century technologies including robots, drones and driverless cars. District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee, who introduced the bill, said his proposed ban is the only one of its kind that he is aware of in the country. He said other cities that have considered similar robot regulation lack San Francisco’s high population density, a factor that increases the risk of a potential accident.

“I know that many companies want to use them right now, but what does this all mean in the future?” Yee said. “It’s cool until we get hundreds, and people get annoyed, people trip, and eventually someone is going to fall—whether they’re elderly or someone with disabilities or a little kid.”

In March, The San Francisco Examiner reported that Yee planned to set up local rules for food delivery robots, which are currently cruising through multiple cities in the United States, including San Carlos and Redwood City in California and Washington, D.C. That effort brought the attention of several robot makers, Yee said.

Robot maker Starship Technologies, with its business headquarters in London, sent someone to Yee’s office to showcase one of the company’s robots, Yee said. He said robot makers Dispatch and Marble also contacted him. Yelp, Postmates and DoorDash utilize the companies’ robots for food delivery in select Bay Area locations and in D.C.

All three robot makers did not respond to questions about which law firm, if any, is representing them in such regulatory and legislative matters. But in a statement to the San Francisco Chronicle, Marble chief executive Matt Delaney said he and his company “look forward to working with the supervisors, neighborhood groups and others to craft smart regulation that balances the needs of pedestrian safety, local businesses, manufacturing and innovation.”

Yee said the proposed ban came after several meetings with San Francisco government agencies, including the police department, the Municipal Transportation Agency and the public works department. Those initial meetings focused on regulation but any discussed solution was “almost impossible to enforce,” Yee said.

“Things like how many would be on a street at a given time, how are you going to manage that?” Yee said, chuckling at the idea of hiring workers just to patrol the streets. “What about speed? Who’s going to monitor the speed?”

Yee said he does not see his ban as permanent, and that, if the robots increase in popularity, he could see them operating on dedicated street lanes.

Copyright Corporate Counsel. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

A San Francisco supervisor introduced legislation this week to ban the use of small, food-delivery robots on city sidewalks, citing pedestrian safety in the latest battle over government regulation of 21st Century technologies including robots, drones and driverless cars. District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee, who introduced the bill, said his proposed ban is the only one of its kind that he is aware of in the country. He said other cities that have considered similar robot regulation lack San Francisco’s high population density, a factor that increases the risk of a potential accident.

“I know that many companies want to use them right now, but what does this all mean in the future?” Yee said. “It’s cool until we get hundreds, and people get annoyed, people trip, and eventually someone is going to fall—whether they’re elderly or someone with disabilities or a little kid.”

In March, The San Francisco Examiner reported that Yee planned to set up local rules for food delivery robots, which are currently cruising through multiple cities in the United States, including San Carlos and Redwood City in California and Washington, D.C. That effort brought the attention of several robot makers, Yee said.

Robot maker Starship Technologies, with its business headquarters in London, sent someone to Yee’s office to showcase one of the company’s robots, Yee said. He said robot makers Dispatch and Marble also contacted him. Yelp, Postmates and DoorDash utilize the companies’ robots for food delivery in select Bay Area locations and in D.C.

All three robot makers did not respond to questions about which law firm, if any, is representing them in such regulatory and legislative matters. But in a statement to the San Francisco Chronicle, Marble chief executive Matt Delaney said he and his company “look forward to working with the supervisors, neighborhood groups and others to craft smart regulation that balances the needs of pedestrian safety, local businesses, manufacturing and innovation.”

Yee said the proposed ban came after several meetings with San Francisco government agencies, including the police department, the Municipal Transportation Agency and the public works department. Those initial meetings focused on regulation but any discussed solution was “almost impossible to enforce,” Yee said.

“Things like how many would be on a street at a given time, how are you going to manage that?” Yee said, chuckling at the idea of hiring workers just to patrol the streets. “What about speed? Who’s going to monitor the speed?”

Yee said he does not see his ban as permanent, and that, if the robots increase in popularity, he could see them operating on dedicated street lanes.

Copyright Corporate Counsel. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.