Delivery robots may soon be rolling down a sidewalk near you - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Delivery robots may soon be rolling down a sidewalk near you

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MADISON (WKOW) -- 35-pound robots with six wheels that specialize in carrying small items for short deliveries could soon by rolling down a sidewalk near you.

Republican state lawmakers are proposing to legalize the use of such robots, which would make Wisconsin the first state in the Midwest to do so.

"So, what we needed to do is to make sure that it is legal is to operate these in the crosswalks and the sidewalks, so that's what this law does," said Rep. Mike Kuglitsch (R-New Berlin), who authored the legislation.

"The principal purpose is to carry food, groceries and packages," said David Catania, a spokesperson for Starship Technologies, which makes the robot demonstrated for members of the Assembly Committee on Science and Technology Wednesday morning.

For James Juedes, co-owner of the Italian deli "Casetta" on West Washington Avenue, it's an intriguing option.

"It's nice to see that there's the capability for good security, and David was sharing with me that there's the capability to keep food cool or to heat it up," said Juedes, who is exploring the possibility of using the product for deliveries.

Equipped with nine cameras and GPS tracking, the robots can sense obstacles including people, and slow down or speed up automatically as warranted.

Catania said they will soon be equipped with radar as well.

But along with all of the bells and whistles, Catania claims the robots provide greater convenience for consumers as well.

"You're actually able to decide the time of day you want, you're actually able to track the device on your phone and you are alerted when it gets there," said Catania.

At the suggestion of Starship Technologies, municipalities would be able to prohibit the use of such robots if they feel they aren't prepared to deal with them yet.

But the bill is expected to pass the full legislature, meaning it should be full speed ahead for sidewalk robots in Wisconsin later this year.

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