It was just a month ago that we had some pretty big criticisms for the Coeur d’Alene City Council, which was considering an ordinance to regulate robots. I jokingly tweeted that the city’s proposed robot licensure requirements and ban on robots harming humans summarily ended my plans for a robot army invasion. The proposal in front of the Coeur d’Alene council deserved to be mocked.
Not so with the newest version, which got a nod from the City Council Tuesday night. Rather than regulate the robotics industry, the ordinance now says robots are permitted on city property unless specifically not permitted. In other words, city parks and other facilities would be open to developers and other robotics engineers looking to utilize the wide-open spaces.
Even more importantly, the new ordinance makes a first-of-its kind attempt to welcome autonomously driven vehicles. Driverless cars would now be welcome in Coeur d’Alene, so long as the cars obey all the traffic laws. I think that will make Coeur d’Alene attractive to Google and other designers of computer-controlled automobiles. The ordinance could, indeed, be a model for other cities and states looking to address this emerging technology.
In short, the city’s new robot ordinance is pro-free market, pro-economic development, pro-robot. Kudos to the City Council for taking it up.