Estonian government supports allowing robot vehicles on streets

A package delivery robot vehicle developed by Starship Technologies being investigated by preschool children in Pärnu. Source: (Mailiis Ollino/Pärnu Postimees)

The Estonian government on Thursday supported changes which would establish the definition of self-driving robot and the rules governing its movement.

Acting in the capacity of prime minister in Jüri Ratas' absence, Minister of Health and Labour Jevgeni Ossinovski said at the government press conference that as an innovative, small country, Estonia cannot just go along with technological changes but rather must be a pioneer in the field. Thus the government supported these changes "warmly," he added.

Ossinovski said that currently the trade sector, primarily courier companies, is most interested in using robot vehicles.

According to the bill initiated by the Economic Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu, a robot vehicle is an automatic or semi-automatic vehicle that moves on the sidewalk at speeds of up to six kilometers per hour. It is up to one meter high, up to 1.2 meters long and up to 0.8 meters wide, with a maximum weight of 50 kilograms. The robot must have a white reflector in the front and a red one in the back; in the dark, robot vehicles must also be fitted with respectively-colored lights.

The individual using the robot vehicle must be at least 18 years of age, an Estonian resident, have the capabilities needed to use the vehicle and be sober.

The package delivery robot currently being developed by Estonia's Starship Technologies OÜ can be defined as a robot vehicle.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS

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