Self-driving delivery robots coming to Northeast Ohio

Posted at 5:42 PM, Jul 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-07 17:44:33-04

It looks like the future is here.

Ohio is now just the fifth state in the Country to legalize the use of delivery robots.

The self-driving pods could soon be navigating the sidewalks here in Northeast Ohio.

They can deliver a wide-range of products right to your doorstep, from bottles of wine to groceries, and even that late night pizza.

Last week, lawmakers gave Starship Technologies the green light to use them here in the Buckeye State.

It is the ultimate match-up.

"Competition is good, it forces us to think on our feet," said Chris Johnson from Committed Courier.

As man takes on machine.

"We've got some real fighters on our team,” said Johnson.

Cleveland couriers, like Johnson, are gearing up to take on these delivery robots.

"You gotta shift gears we've got to adapt and overcome to what the new technology is or whatever the new trend might be," said Johnson.

The devices, just approved for use in Ohio, can carry items within a 3-mile radius.

"I think it will be great because there is a market niche for this which is pretty much empty right now, or almost empty," said Iryna Lendel, CSU Center for Economic Development.

Filling that niche is expected to drive economic development in the city.

"Convenience brings business to businesses," said Lendel.

However, like every new invention there is the risk of people losing their jobs.

"We are going to move in that direction and it's like a waterfall you can't stop it, but what you can do you can prepare for it," said Lendel.

But not every business likes the futuristic direction deliveries are headed.

"Great customer service comes from a personal touch," said Jasmin Frangos of Rascal House Pizza.

With 65% of its business being deliveries, Rascal House Pizza has no plans to change its current workflow.

"I'm excited to see what technology has to offer us in the future, but I just can't see our people being replaced by robots," said Frangos.

Meantime, Chris Johnson and his fellow couriers plan to keep peddling on.

"We've been in business now almost 17 years and still here. Nothing has knocked us out yet," said Johnson.

Johnson says just like new delivery apps that have come online recently, once the fad of the shiny new thing fades, customers always come back to them. He expects it to be the same way with delivery robots.

A spokesperson with Starship Technologies says Cleveland is on their radar, but can't confirm when we might see their robots roaming our streets.