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Austin Council takes up delivery robot program...again.

(Photo Shutterstock/Chesky)

Austin could soon test personal delivery robots downtown.

Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo tried back in May to start a pilot program after she saw a promising demonstration of the technology earlier this year; which has been tested in Washington DC, Silicon Valley and even at Mueller in Austin. "It has the ability to operate on city sidewalks to deliver packages or groceries or other kinds of items that can be locked within the robot." City Council is again going to look a pilot program for such technology this week. 

The Transportation Department's traffic engineers will ascribe the conditions of the pilot program if Council approves.  Tovo says "It's a resolution package. We would ask our city staff to look at what in our code could prevent an obstacle to having this kind of service available."

Tovo is keenly interested in the robots which are about the size of an ice chest. "They demonstrated the locking mechanism. I think you can put, maybe a couple of bags of groceries and it automatically locks. And when you get to a customer's house, that customer is given a password that allows it to be unlocked."

Council could approve that this week.

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