Telepresence robot (Tariff notice 38)

Find a new regulation about a mobile, self-balanced, electrically powered machine, also known as a ‘telepresence robot’.

This new regulation was published on 30 October 2019.

This is not considered a change to UK practice.

New regulation

A mobile, self-balanced, electrically powered machine, a so called ‘telepresence robot’. It consists of the following main components in a single housing with two wheels mounted on an axle:

  • an accelerometer and a gyroscope
  • an electric motor
  • a Bluetooth module
  • a rechargeable battery

The article has a power connection for recharging the battery, a status light and a vertical telescopic pole with motorised height control. The pole has a detachable holder for a tablet computer (‘tablet’) on the top. The holder is equipped with a USB port for charging the tablet.

The article can be remotely controlled only by means of a compatible device (for example, a tablet) with wireless communication functions using Bluetooth.

The article is used to transport and lift or lower the tablet and to supply the tablet with electricity.

Classification (Combined Nomenclature (CN) code)

8428 90 90


Classification is determined by general rules 1 and 6 for the interpretation of the Combined Nomenclature, note 3 to Section XVI and by the wording of CN codes 8428, 8428 90 and 8428 90 90.

The article merely moves the tablet and supplies it with electricity; it does not enable the tablet to perform operations other than that for which it is designed.

Therefore it is neither adapting the tablet for a particular operation, nor increasing its range of operations, nor performing a particular service relative to the main function of the tablet (see judgement of 16 June 2011, Unomedical, C-152/10, EU:C:2011:402, paragraph 29, and see also the Harmonised System Explanatory Notes to heading 8473, second paragraph).

Consequently, classification under heading 8473 as an accessory for use solely or principally with machines of headings 8470 to 8472 is excluded.

Classification under heading 8479 or 8543 is excluded as the article performs several functions of machines referred to in the headings of Chapter 84 or 85 (Section XVI), such as a lifting and handling function (transporting and lifting or lowering a tablet), to provide current to a device and a communication function using the Bluetooth protocol.

By virtue of note 3 to Section XVI, it is to be classified as being that apparatus which performs the principal function.

The article is designed to transport and lift or lower a tablet and, consequently, this is its principal function within the meaning of note 3 to Section XVI. The other functions are ancillary. The article is therefore to be classified under CN code 8428 90 90 as other lifting, handling, loading or unloading machinery.

Contact details

Tariff Classification
Customs Directorate
10th Floor South East
Alexander House
21 Victoria Avenue
Essex SS99 1AA


This Tariff Notice is published for information purposes only.

Published 8 November 2019