Personal Delivery Devices
On November 1, 2020, Senate Bill 1199 (Personal Delivery Devices) was enacted. It is now
Act 106 of 2020 and will go into effect on January 30, 2021. Pennsylvania is one of the 20+ states that allow for Personal Delivery Devices (PDD).
What is a PDD?
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.
Per the Pennsylvania vehicle code, PDDs are classified as pedestrians and are afforded the same rights. PDDs must operate like a pedestrian with three exceptions:
- PDDs must yield the right-of-way to all pedestrians and pedalcyclists in a pedestrian area.
- PDD must travel in the same direction of traffic when traveling on a roadway or shoulder/berm.
- In specific circumstances, a PDD may operate within the travel lane of a roadway.
PDDs come in all different shapes, sizes, and use cases. However, Act 106 does establish some limitations.
Width - 32 inches or less
Length - 42 inches or less
Height - 72 inches or less
Weight (w/o cargo) - 550 pounds or less
Speed (pedestrian areas) - 12 mph or less
Speed (shoulder/roadway) - 25 mph or less
Where can a PDD operate?
PDDs are permitted to operate in any pedestrian area (i.e. sidewalk, crosswalk, safety zone, pedestrian tunnel, overhead pedestrian crossing, or similar area for pedestrians), and on a roadway or shoulder/berm of a roadway posted at 25 mph or less.
Assuming there are no limiting safety restrictions and use is practicable, PDDs shall operate using the following priority:
- Utilize the shoulder or berm of a roadway.
- Utilize a pedestrian area such as a sidewalk.
- Utilize the roadway as practicable to the outside edge.
PDDs will operate in two Phases.
Phase 1 (0-180 days) – The PDD will be operated through an autonomous or remote driving system. However, a PDD operator must be within 30 feet of the PDD and maintain line of sight of the PDD. After 180 days, a PDD will automatically transition to Phase 2 unless the authorized entity agrees to remain within Phase 1.
Phase 2 (180 days+) - The PDD will be operated through an autonomous or remote driving system. However, a PDD must be monitored remotely and, if necessary, controlled or overridden remotely.
How is a PDD Authorized?
Per the law, PennDOT is responsible for developing policies governing the operations of PDDs and the application process to grant authorization. PennDOT has the sole authority to issue, approve, renew, revoke, suspend, condition, or deny issuance or renewal of PDD authorizations. Per the law, a PDD application must contain:
- Contact information;
- List of municipalities where the PDD will operate;
- Anticipated roadways/pedestrian areas where the PDD will operate;
- Description of operator training procedures;
- Manufacturer/model of the PDD;
- Description of how first responders would stop or disable the PDD;
- Description of cargo the PDD will be carrying (hazardous material is prohibited);
- Safety and maintenance inspection schedule;
- Operating phases the PDD is capable of operating in;
- Proof of insurance (minimum $100,000 liability);
- Details on education campaign PDD developed for municipalities, motorists, and the general public;
- Accident procedures;
- List of unique identifier numbers; and
- Any information or records deemed reasonably necessary to aid PennDOT's review of the submitted application and for the administration, enforcement, and ongoing compliance.
Once authorized, an application is good for 1 year.