Coco: Local delivery drones are owned by Coco and operate as part of a pilot program in Santa Monica. Courtesy photo

Jamie Paige

Special to the Daily Press

A motion filed by councilmembers Mike Bonin and Bob Blumenfield asking to implement a pilot program for personal delivery devices was passed by the Los Angeles City Council Tuesday. 

The motion looks to regulate operators of delivery devices on city sidewalks.

The devices, also known as delivery robots, have been used by private companies to complete last-mile food and retail deliveries.

According to the original motion, filed in 2020, the city should be “proactive in regulating these devices in order to balance the health and environmental advantages” with potential impacts of jobs and the “private use and capitalization of the city’s public infrastructure.”

The council voted for an ordinance that would implement the program. The ordinance will come before the council next week for a second vote.

The motion praises the devices as allowing for “more contactless delivery options in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic,” along with providing for an alternative to delivery by gas-powered vehicles.

The program authorizes the Department of Transportation to issue permits to operators of the devices. If an operator fails to comply with the permit’s rules, the permit could be suspended or removed.

The city plans to study the data collected during the pilot program to ensure safe operation of the devices and to determine how many devices can be deployed in various locations.