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Latta Sees Starship Delivery Robots in Action at BGSU

This week, Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH5) visited Bowling Green State University (BGSU), where he learned more about their Starship Technologies delivery robots that are already delivering food and beverages in his hometown of Bowling Green. 

Contactless delivery services are helping people access necessities from the comfort of their home in states across the country. Last week, Congressman Latta introduced the Advancing Unmanned Delivery Services Act, which evaluates the many benefits contactless delivery has for various segments and sectors of our country. This bill tasks the Secretary of Commerce to examine unmanned delivery services, their impact on United States businesses conducting interstate commerce, and identify potential regulatory roadblocks to the use of their services. To learn more about Congressman Latta’s Advancing Unmanned Delivery Services Act, click here

WTOL Toledo, the Sentinel-Tribune and the BG Independent News reported on the Congressman’s visit to BGSU.

Delivery robots at BGSU inspire congressman

Roger LaPointe | May 27, 2020

While receiving a cup of coffee from a Starship Technologies delivery robot at Bowling Green State University, U.S. Rep. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green, introduced his new bill, the Advancing Unmanned Delivery Services Act. … 

“These smart devices offer unique opportunities to make it easier for senior citizens, people with disabilities, people who live in remote areas, or people who cannot leave their homes to get food and medications. Analyzing the potential of unmanned delivery services and identifying regulatory obstacles will facilitate the safe incorporation of these devices into our everyday lives, and ensure the United States remains a global leader in innovation.”… 

BGSU is the only university in Ohio with the Starship robot delivery program. However, Latta was familiar with them from a similar, but much smaller, program that operates in Washington, D.C.

“We’re looking at autonomous-type delivery vehicles. We want the Department of Commerce to look at what is out there right now,” Latta said. “We want them to look at the overall picture of where we are in the world right now. There are also interesting questions about the supply chain. Once you get them, we want to make sure you can keep utilizing them, so you don’t have a shutdown…. 

The Bowling Green robotic delivery program initially started with just deliveries on campus, but has since expanded to deliveries in the city, in approximately a four mile radius. …

The robots have a series of 10 sensors, including cameras and ultrasonic devices, along with mapping programs and GPS to navigate their surroundings. … Latta asked what would happen if the robot gets stuck or senses a barrier, like a child’s bike or skateboard, blocking a sidewalk. … “It will ask passers-by for a hand, and it will thank them for the assistance,” Paulus said. The robotic systems are being studied in a wide range of areas on campus.

Reid Zura, one of the Starship hybrid operators working on campus, and an undergraduate in communications, helped demonstrate the operation of the robot and the smart phone app used to make an order.

BGSU President Rodney Rogers was also with Latta. Rogers has been a proponent of advancing robotics and related technology at the university.

“We’ve got a quickly growing mechatronics and robotics program at the university, both at the undergraduate and graduate level,” he said. “This type of program gives some of our students a hands on experience with an autonomous device, a delivery device in this case. A lot of technology underlying this autonomous device is similar to autonomous devices in a manufacturing setting, distribution settings and in logistics.”

The robot program at BGSU employs 30 people. Ten are employed by Starship and another 20 by BGSU.

To read the complete article from the Sentinel-Tribuneclick here.

Latta says he’s working to deliver the goods in Congress for new technologies

David Dupont | May 26, 2020


As U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) has been working on legislation promoting self-driving vehicles of various kinds. On Tuesday, he was in Bowling Green to view a local iteration of the technology, the Starship delivery robots at Bowling Green State University.

The congressman co-sponsored self-driving legislation in 2017 that sped through the U.S. House only to hit a roadblock in the Senate.

Now he’s co-sponsored Advancing Unmanned Delivery Services Act, the new bill “tasks the Secretary of Commerce to examine unmanned delivery services, their impact on United States businesses conducting interstate commerce, and identify potential regulatory roadblocks to the use of their services.” During his visit to BGSU, Latta said that it was important to take a national approach to regulations.  “We can’t have 50 states and the District of Columba coming up with own regulations.”… 

The current circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic show the need for such services. The elderly and disabled can use these to get food and medicines, he said. “It’s great to see it operating in my hometown.”… 

The service was launched on campus on March 2, and within a couple weeks was making 1,000 deliveries daily. Earlier this summer, the service was expanded to reach areas in the community just over a mile from campus. Deliveries are from Dunkin Donuts and Panda Express as well as Carillon Place and the associated convenience store. … 

BGSU President Rodney Rogers said having this partnership with Starship Technologies fits with the university’s initiatives in mechatronics and supply side management. … The next step being explored is working with local business to do delivery for them. Food establishment would be the obvious niche, but it could be more. He said the service is going to experiment delivering apparel from Falcon Outfitters.

To read the complete article from the BG Independent Newsclick here


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