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​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.

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:

  1. PDDs must yield the right-of-way to all pedestrians and pedalcyclists in a pedestrian area.
  2. PDD must travel in the same direction of traffic when traveling on a roadway or shoulder/berm.
  3. 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), on a roadway or shoulder/berm of a roadway, or on 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:

  1. Utilize the shoulder or berm of a roadway.
  2. Utilize a pedestrian area such as a sidewalk.
  3. 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 receive PDD authorization prior to operating.

Once authorized, an application is good for 1 year.