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Kiwibot to Engage & Educate Downtown Stakeholders on Personal Delivery Devices

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

What are Personal Delivery Devices?

As of November 2020, the PA Legislature enacted Senate Bill 1199 which introduced Personal Delivery Devices, also referred to as PDDs. A PDD is a ground-based delivery device that is manufactured for transporting cargo or goods and is operated by a driving system that allows for autonomous and/or remote operations. Since the legislation was first adopted, the City of Pittsburgh introduced a six-month pilot program in Bloomfield through the Knight Foundation’s Autonomous Vehicle Initiative to deploy up to ten PDDs and will include a partnership with Kiwibot, a private-sector company that owns and operates PDDs, between summer 2021 and winter 2022.

Photo courtesy of Starship Technologies.

If this is a Bloomfield Pilot, Then How Will PDDs Impact Downtown Stakeholders?

While PDDs are not currently being piloted elsewhere in the City of Pittsburgh, dozens of companies, such as Amazon, FedEx, Kiwibot, and Starship, are building and piloting these small, electric sidewalk delivery robots elsewhere in the U.S which is why they are likely to come soonest and have the most unanticipated impacts on sidewalks. The Bloomfield pilot will allow the City of Pittsburgh to document learnings, start to create informed local policies, and advise state regulators of necessary legislative and policy updates to ensure PDDs operate safely while also maintaining accessibility.

To begin educating Pittsburghers about PDDs, Kiwibot will begin to conduct community engagement in other neighborhoods across the city, including Downtown Pittsburgh, to allow the public to see a PDD, ask questions, and provide direct feedback. This engagement will include a demonstration of the Kiwibot PDD, always accompanied by a human supervisor within 30 feet of the robot, and will typically take place in areas with higher volumes of foot traffic, including Market Square and Point State Park.

Will there be Any Other Way for the Public to Provide Input on Personal Delivery Devices?

Yes, of course! We encourage you to share any additional questions, comments, or concerns about Personal Delivery Devices at the City’s Bloomfield Personal Delivery Device Pilot page on the City’s EngagePGH website.

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