On March 29, Sen. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield) and Rep. Kuglitsch (R-New Berlin) introduced a bill (SB 148/AB 191) that would legalize delivery drones in Wisconsin. The bill would authorize personal delivery devices (PDDs) on sidewalks and crosswalks, provided that it meets certain requirements and follows rules of the road for pedestrians.
A personal delivery device (PDD) is a small autonomous vehicle that operates on sidewalks within a two to three mile range. PDD technology allows the devices to travel on sidewalks to deliver packages, and keep the packages under lock until the receiver opens the device with their phone. The proposed bills would limit PDDs to speeds under ten miles per hour and require an operator to monitor the movements of the device.
The Senate Committee on Government Operations, Technology and Consumer Protection held a hearing on SB 148 on April 18. Co-author Sen. Kapenga testified that PDDs would reduce delivery costs and make Wisconsin a technology leader in the Midwest. PDDs would lower the cost of delivery in the “last mile” of local deliveries, which currently accounts for 20-40 percent of delivery costs, Kapenga said. In his previous co-sponsorship memo, Kapenga also highlighted delivery drones’ abilities to reduce package theft and increase accessibility of deliveries to hard to reach places and people like seniors or those with disabilities.
In executive session on Wednesday, March 29, the Senate Committee on Government Operations, Technology and Consumer Protection and the Assembly Committee on Science and Technology both, respectfully, recommended the delivery drones bill for passage. The committees added one amendment that changes bill language to hold PDD operators accountable for the PDDs following rules of the road.