In November 2016, Redwood, CA City Council approved a pilot program to allow the use of autonomous robots, also known as Personal Delivery Devices "PDD", for a period of nine months. Starship Technologies, a London based company founded in 2014, was the sole operator during the initial pilot. Starship’s PDDs carry approximately three grocery bags worth of goods and weigh about 50 pounds when fully loaded. The PDDs travel at up to four miles per hour on sidewalks, assisted by nine on-board cameras.
At street crossings, the PDD is assisted by a human controller to ensure it is safe for the robot to cross the street and not impede traffic. The PDDs travel throughout a five-mile radius from their docking point. Customers can establish their delivery times, track their items while in transit on a mobile application, and securely retrieve their items with a unique code that opens the robot.
In November 13, 2017, the Redwood City Council approved an extension of the Pilot Program that would run through December 31, 2018. As part of the extension, the City Council allowed for up to two robot companies to operate within the City limits.
Since early 2017, Starship was making 30 to 40 deliveries a day in Redwood, CA with a fleet of 12 robots. From early 2017 to early 2019, only five complaints were received by the City. Disruption was low enough that the Redwood City Council in May 2019 again approved renewing the pilot program for up to 24 months.