Chicago, IL Testing Robots For Food Delivery

The city council of Chicago, IL has approved a pilot program to test the use of food delivery robots. The pilot program will see Personal Delivery Device (PDD) companies partnering with local food establishments to deliver food orders to customers using small robots. 

“I am focused on helping our business community thrive with new and creative ways to support both businesses and their patrons,” said Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “The Personal Delivery Device Pilot Program not only gives businesses the opportunity to test new delivery options safely but also helps the City determine how these devices can integrate into our existing sidewalk traffic and improve services for residents.”  

The delivery robots will operate on sidewalks and crosswalks in a small radius from the food establishments.

“During the pilot program, CDOT will assess whether these Personal Delivery Devices can be used safely and effectively without inconveniencing other sidewalk users,” said CDOT Commissioner Gia Biagi. “These devices have the potential to replace vehicle delivery trips while supporting local businesses. Allowing PDDs to operate on select sidewalks and crosswalks through this small-scale pilot program will allow Chicago to regulate and better understand this growing industry for the benefit of all residents.”

The companies operating PDDs will operate under an Emerging Business Permit issued by the Chicago Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection (BACP). The Emerging Business Permit was designed to support new business ideas that don’t fall under existing business license categories. 

“The ability to safely regulate the Personal Delivery Device pilot program is what the Emerging Business Permit was created for,” said BACP Commissioner Kenneth J. Meyer. “The permit framework provides an opportunity for businesses to safely test emerging ideas in the context of a temporary pilot program. This pilot program allows us to ensure accountability and transparency to effectively evaluate this new industry.”