People love these tiny delivery robots but Toronto plans to ban them from its sidewalks
If you're out and about in Toronto and you pass by a Geoffrey, the little pink delivery bots that residents of have come to know and love, you might want to snap one last picture or blow one last kiss, because soon, his kind may be off city streets for good.
In a motion that came as news to many, organizations and local politicans are asking that delivery robots and other types of sidewalk-bound A.I. be banned from the city due to them being potentially problematic for people with disabilities.
For those who are vision or mobility impaired in particular, the bots can provide a tripping hazard or physical obstacle, groups like the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance argue, calling tools like Geoffrey a "a substantial and worrisome new disability barrier impeding people with disabilities in their safe use of public sidewalks and other paths of travel."
Sidewalks are a public resource created for safe pedestrian use.— Kristyn Wong-Tam 黃慧文 (@kristynwongtam) December 3, 2021
Infrastructure & Environment Committee voted to ban “Micro-Utility Devices” or robots from operating or parking on Toronto sidewalks, footpaths, bike lanes & cycle tracks. https://t.co/iqoDcR6kN8#IDPWD2021 pic.twitter.com/rZe2r81E8W
The Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee met last month to discuss the issue, and formally advised council to prohibit all "micro utility devices" including deliverbots, self-driving or remotely-driven snow removal machines and other robotic service devices, scanning devices and personal robots from such public spaces.
And, at a city council meeting this week, the Infrastructure and Environment Committee adopted the item, as recommended by Ward 13 — Toronto Centre Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam.
Council is set to decide on the proposal on Dec. 15.
If the new rules comes into effect, anyone who is found operating or parking a micro-utility device on a sidewalk or roadway will face a set fine $150.
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