Add To Favorites

House panel embraces legalizing Roxo bot on NH roads

New Hampshire Union Leader - 10/19/2021

Oct. 19—CONCORD — A House committee unanimously gave the green light Tuesday to legislation that would have New Hampshire join 15 states that allow robots to operate on sidewalks and along roadways to make deliveries.

Bedford inventor Dean Kamen'sDEKA Research & Development Corp. has, in partnership with FedEx, created Roxo, a motorized PDD (personal delivery device) bot that was first tested in Manchester's downtown during the summer of 2019.

The platform for the delivery robot is DEKA's iBot, a motorized wheelchair capable of climbing stairs, which has more than 10 million miles of operation by users so far.

The 19-0 vote of this bill (HB 116), left over from 2021, now sends the measure on to the full House to be taken up early on in the 2022 session.

House Deputy Speaker Steven Smith, R-Charlestown, authored a rewrite of his bill that he said is aimed at simplifying the definitions of both PDDs along with a mobile carrier.

Roxo sits 4 feet, 2 inches tall, and the bill would permit PDDs to travel up to 10 mph on the crosswalk, and up to 20 mph along the roadway.

An operator would have to control or "monitor" the PDD at all times.

"They can't be out in travel lanes on highways with cars," Smith stressed.

A mobile carrier PDD is typically the size of a briefcase, and automatically travels behind or alongside its owner. The bill would require the operator to be within 25 feet of the carrier at all times.

All weight limits taken out

House Speaker Sherman Packard, R-Londonderry, is a co-sponsor of Smith's bill and came out for a demonstration of Roxo outside the State House last week.

Smith said he removed all references to weight limits of both devices, concluding the industry will determine what those should be once these products are commercially sold.

State Rep. Larry Gagne, R-Manchester, said he became a fan of the device after seeing Roxo perform.

"I may not live long enough to see this take off. However, I am wholeheartedly in favor of it," said Gagne, 77.

Under the proposed law, a city or town could not ban the use of PPDs, but could "reasonably restrict" their operation following public input.

Smith said he wrote this provision so that selectmen or voters at town meeting might restrict PDDs from operating on rural roads that don't have wide enough shoulders.


(c)2021 The New Hampshire Union Leader (Manchester, N.H.)

Visit The New Hampshire Union Leader (Manchester, N.H.) at

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.