At Transmetrics, we believe that we live in the exciting times when digital disruption is happening in many industries including logistics. We are about to transfer the responsibility of driving to an autopilot powered by Artificial Intelligence in our cars and we are starting to get shipments right to our backyards with drones. As consumers, we already expect free same-day shipping without even thinking about the complexity of delivering goods from the manufacturer to our doorstep. And as a society which lives in the 21st century, we have a right to demand that. Governments and companies have to work closely to develop the legislation and strategies in order to address increased consumer demands by moving towards the renewable energy sources, creating new ways of delivering goods and to achieving seamless collaboration between humans and technologies. As primary users of the logistics services, our society has to embrace the innovations.
Welcome to the July Issue of “Across Logistics” Innovation News Release, where we are discussing the latest innovation examples in the logistics sector and looking forward to the bright future.
Here is the list of topics in this issue:
- Wärtsilä and DHL pilot in Human and Robot collaboration in the warehouse
- France to ban all petrol and Diesel Vehicles by 2040
- TIP Trailer Services brings electric vans to the urban logistics
- Chinese company pioneers with last mile delivery on rails
- Swedish startup presents a truck without the driver’s cabin
Collaboration in a Warehouse: Robots and Workforce
In the June issue of “Across Logistics” we mentioned that collaboration between the truck driver and the automated truck systems might be the key to keep the workforce while increasing the asset utilization in the trucking industry. However, this is not the only sector which has a threat of replacing humans with automation, thus decreasing the number of jobs. Sometimes, moving goods inside the warehouse is as complex as moving goods globally, therefore automation is one of the ways to improve the efficiency in the warehouse. Wärtsilä and DHL have completed a successful pilot of Fetch Robotics technology in a warehouse environment. These robots are autonomous, have a loading capacity of 78 kg and can cover a distance of two meters per second. In addition to that, when the battery life comes to an end after 9 hours of operating, the freight robot independently makes its way to the charging unit. Robots can differentiate between dynamic and static obstacles by being able to recognize their location and surroundings.
“Our colleagues took the central stage during the trial. The robots are designed to work alongside employees and to relieve them from physically strenuous tasks.” – said Denis Niezgoda, Robotics Accelerator Lead at DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation.
France Strengthens up the Fight Against the Climate Change
This month France announced that they plan to ban all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040. This step will allow to dramatically decrease the CO2 emissions, which are growing every year in the country. For example, Paris, Lyon, Grenoble and other French cities have a chronic smog problem. Despite the fact that some car manufacturers already promised to transfer all of their production towards hybrid and electric cars by as soon as 2019, France gives time for its citizens and companies to adapt to this plan until 2040.
The government promises a monetary bonus to the people who decide to replace their old diesel or petrol car for a newer one. As for the car manufacturers, Peugeot, Citroen and Renault are already in Top-3 companies on the 2016 list of large car manufacturers with the lowest carbon emissions by the European Environment Agency. Hence, France already has a solid basis to implement the plan, which aligns with France’s strategy to be an international leader in fighting the climate change. However, the main question is “How will it affect the logistics industry?”
TIP Electrifies Last Mile Delivery in France
Although France’s plan to ban petrol and diesel vehicles still has 23 more years to be executed, as for 2016 France is already the largest market for electric vans in the EU. In March 2017 TIP Trailer Services in cooperation with DPD France has tested an electric light commercial vehicle (eLCV) in the city of Orléans. On average, the vehicle drove 40 km per day with an available range of 200 km. According to TIP Trailer Services, the demand for such types of vehicles is increasing with the new anti-pollution measures, and customers express more interest in testing and eventually using such type of vehicles.
“As a provider of commercial transport solutions, we need to have an offer that corresponds to this evolution in the market. We believe that our electric vehicle is a real alternative for driving freely in the city center and making last-mile deliveries without constraints.” – adds Mr. Didier Felice, Vice President Mediterranean Region at TIP Trailer Services.
Last Mile Delivery on Rails
As we saw in the previous example, electrifying last mile delivery is an obvious step which goes along with the legislations and customer demand. However, the bigger the city, the bigger are the investments to build an efficient and fast urban logistics network. Therefore, while delivery vans could be a solution in the cities with lower population density, it might not work for megacities, which are agglomerations with high and extremely high density of population.
An example of a megacity is Guangzhou, China. Local company Guangdong iBosst has launched a project dedicated to building a smart logistics express cable rail system in urban and rural China. According to the company’s statement: “These rails form an “expressway” in the air to carry unmanned shuttle robots which can be loaded with goods weighing up to 100 kilograms. Traveling on soft wire rope tracks, the shuttle robots can turn and shunt, while making it possible to rapidly deliver parcels to their destinations.” In addition to that, Guangdong iBosst pointed out that “it aims to achieve same-day delivery of goods nationwide and one-hour delivery city-wide in Guangzhou, and at the same time cutting the cost in half.” The plan is as ambitious as the technology behind it, so we will definitely keep an eye on this innovation and we advise you to do so as well.
The “Really Driverless” Truck
Have you ever heard of the company named Einride? If not, now is the time to introduce you to it. Recently, the company from Sweden demonstrated their prototype of an autonomous truck “T-pod”. What is different about this vehicle in comparison to the other driverless trucks is that it lacks steering wheel, pedals and the most important part – the driver’s cabin. The “T-pod” truck can be operated remotely or it can drive without any human involvement. The company also announced that by 2020 it will establish “a complete transport system between Gothenburg-Helsingborg [in Sweden]”. The project will be able to handle up to 2,000,000 pallets per year, involving 200 T-pods and the infrastructure of charging stations.
Thank you for reading and watching our “Across Logistics” Innovation News Release. Feel free to subscribe for our updates, and enjoy days in August. Hope to see you next month!