Welcome to the August 2018 issue of “Across Logistics” Innovation News Release, where we are presenting you the latest innovative technologies and important news in logistics that happened over the past month.
Here is the list of topics in this issue:
- Uber Closes Down Its Self-Driving Trucks Division
- Marlink Announces Tech Startup Partnerships with We4Sea and Transmetrics
- Rolls-Royce Launches a Lithium-ion-based Energy Storage System for Ships
- A Fully Automated Smart Warehouse Launches in a Test Mode in Hong-Kong
- Business Insider Intelligence Publishes a Report on “Transportation & Logistics Startups to Watch”
Uber Closes Down Its Self-Driving Trucks Division
Uber recently announced that the Uber Advanced Technologies Group (ATG) will stop the development of self-driving trucks and will direct the focus of the entire team towards self-driving cars.
According to the email that was sent to Uber ATG employees, Eric Meyhofer, head of Uber ATG, wrote: “Rather than having two groups working side by side, focused on different vehicle platforms, I want us instead collaborating as one team. I know we’re all super proud of what the Trucks team has accomplished, and we continue to see the incredible promise of self-driving technology applied to moving freight across the country. But we believe delivering on self-driving for passenger applications first, and then bringing it to freight applications down the line, is the best path forward.”
Uber ATG will continue the in-house development of LiDAR – a light detection and ranging radar that measures distance using laser light to generate highly accurate 3D maps of the car surroundings. Uber Freight, a marketplace for truck drivers and shipping companies which launched in 2017, will not be affected by the decision to shutter Uber’s self-driving trucks unit.
Marlink Announces Tech Startup Partnerships with We4Sea and Transmetrics
The Marlink Group, the world’s leading provider of end-to-end managed connectivity and IT solutions, revealed that it has signed partnership agreements with two startups – We4Sea and Transmetrics. These partnerships are strategically important for the Marlink Group because they allow to support global maritime shipping companies with the innovative solutions developed by the startups. While We4Sea provides innovative fuel efficiency solutions to the Marlink’s network of clients, Transmetrics helps them predict shipping volumes, optimize empty container moves and achieve savings while making transport more efficient and environmentally friendly. Marlink aims to support new partners as part of its Smart Connectivity strategy, which empowers its customers’ digitalization and business efficiency through new applications and business models.
“Marlink’s global multi-band network and extensive insight into maritime digital transformation will augment our predictive optimization software AssetMetrics, ensuring that together, we are positioned to deliver tangible operational and financial efficiencies to end-users,” said Asparuh Koev, CEO of Transmetrics.
“Big data will play a significant part in enabling ships to reduce sulphur emissions and, together with Marlink, we will contribute to addressing one of the biggest challenges that the shipping industry faces. Our solution combined with Marlink’s connectivity and industry leadership will contribute to reducing fuel costs, helping ship owners to operate more cost-effectively,” added Dan Veen, We4Sea CEO and Co-Founder.
Rolls-Royce Launches a Lithium-Ion-Based Energy Storage System for Ships
This month, Rolls-Royce has announced the launch of a lithium-ion-based energy storage system called “SAVe Energy”. According to the company, this system is designed to increase efficiency for small ships and tug vessels. For the shipowners, the benefit is clear – they will receive a clean, safe and cost-efficient complete energy storage system. The modular design of the system enables it to scale according to energy and power requirements and can be combined with an LNG1Liquefied natural gas or diesel-powered engine as well as most types of propulsion units.
“The development work has been partly funded by the Norwegian Research Council of Norway’s ENERGIX program. The three-ship owning companies Color Line, Norled and the Norwegian Coastal Administration Shipping Company have been partners in the development, ensuring that the energy storage system covers a wide variety of marine applications,” – the company states in the press release.
Hong Kong Tests a Fully Automated Smart Warehouse
Hong Kong is getting closer to becoming a Smart City with the opening of the first fully automated, self-service storage facilities – RobEx Center. Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP), RV Automation Technology Company Limited (RV Automation) and other partners have been working on the smart warehouse idea for 18 months. RobEx Center serves as a showcase of modern and innovative technologies for warehousing including Autonomous Mobile Robots, smart warehousing systems and facial recognition for the lockers.
The fully self-serviced warehouse has the ability to operate 24/7 and reduce the need for physically demanding human labor. The benefits of the smart warehousing systems include maximization of space utilization and per-square-feet yields, reduction in human errors for activities like storing and delivering of parcels, and, ultimately, new revenue streams in warehousing services. Before opening to the public, industry trials will be conducted in the RobEx Centre in September to collect operational data.
Business Insider Intelligence Publishes a Report on “Transportation & Logistics Startups to Watch”
BI Intelligence, a research unit of Business Insider, published a report in August covering “Transportation & Logistics Startups to Watch”. It gives a high-level overview of the funding trends for startups in Transport and Logistics industry, as well as a list of 25 key startups in different fields such as AI for Supply Chain Management, Digital Freight, Warehouse Robotics, Self-Driving Car Software and Delivery Robotics.
The report highlights such companies as Convoy, Locus Robotics, Starship, Nuro, Transmetrics, ClearMetal and other notable startups. According to the BI Intelligence, startups in this report were selected based on the quality and number of their customers, the products or services they offer, the leadership teams they’ve assembled, the amount of funding they’ve received and a number of notable investors.
“The transportation and logistics sectors are on the brink of a massive transformation. After largely operating the same way for decades, digital leaps in areas like AI and autonomous technology are poised to transform these industries by cutting costs, optimizing delivery routes, and automating mundane tasks. Startups are the lynchpin of this transformation,” – the report states.