Latta proposes Commerce Department study on unmanned delivery services

U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) introduced a bill that would authorize the U.S. Commerce Department to conduct a study on the impact unmanned delivery services have on American businesses conducting interstate commerce.

“The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the importance of delivering goods Americans rely on directly to their homes as safely and efficiently as possible,” Rep. Latta said. “Unmanned delivery services, including drones, robots and autonomous vehicles, unleash the potential to ensure Americans can access necessities from the comfort of their living rooms, whenever they need them.”

The Advancing Unmanned Delivery Services Act is part of a GOP-led legislative package of some 15 bills aimed at bolstering America’s leadership in emerging technologies.

U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR) and U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), ranking member of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce, on May 12 unveiled the legislative package. Rep. Latta serves as ranking member of the U.S House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.

“Now more than ever, we must create policies that ensure America beats China over the next decade and beyond by fostering innovation, securing supply chains, and protecting consumers,” Reps. Walden and McMorris Rodgers said in a joint statement. “These pillars of our legislative agenda unleash free-market ingenuity to spur American leadership and economic growth in the next generation of technology that will define our future. We applaud the forward-thinking leadership of the subcommittee members and look forward to working with our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support these important initiatives.”

If enacted, Rep. Latta’s bill would task the U.S. Secretary of Commerce with examining unmanned delivery services and identifying potential regulatory roadblocks to the use of their services.

“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,” said Rep. Latta. “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.”