WHITE PAPER: How to manage sidewalk robots

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Harmonize Mobility, the Canadian future transportation thought leadership company, has released a new white paper examining in detail ways to manage and provide standards for a burgeoning new form of mobility solution – sidewalk robots.

These machines typically operate completely autonomously and do not carry people but goods. They are aimed particularly at solving the last-mile problem of delivery in urban centers, thereby easing pressure on overcrowded roads. But as they move from rapidly from live tests to real-world deployment, how should they be managed?

“Sidewalk robots will (at least!) rival ride-hailing in their urban impact,” Harmonize Mobility’s chief innovation officer Bern Grush tells TTi. “They will precede robotaxis and provide our first experience with a massive number of automated machines mixed with humans and human-operated machines in public spaces. As both a significant boon and a tremendous management problem, they need standards, ground-control systems, and a ‘Sidewalk Traffic Act’.”

The White Paper addresses issues surrounding the new technology and also looks at the possible content and purpose of the forthcoming International Organization for Standardization project “Sidewalk and kerb operations for automated vehicles” ISO/4448 standard, which aims to offer guidance on deployment of this new technology. Publication of the first part of this standard is expected later this year, with three further parts to follow until 2024.

You can read the White Paper for yourself. Also watch out for an interview with Bern Grush in a forthcoming edition of the TTi Podast.

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs in charge of public agencies around the world as well as chairmen and CEOs of multinational transportation technology corporations. Tom's early career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).