Picture Credit: Jordan Stead/Amazon
Welcome to the June 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 last month.
Here is the list of topics in this issue:
- Amazon Unveils Its Latest Prime Air Drone
- Europe Publishes Common Drone Rules, Giving Operators a Year to Prepare
- Video: Giant Delivery Drones Are Coming, but at What Cost?
- Completely Driverless Truck, Volvo Vera, is Onto Its First Real-World Assignment
- Scania Presents NXT Concept – an Autonomous Vehicle that Can Transport People, Cargo, And Garbage
- UPS Opens Tech-Driven Dutch Superhub
- Hapag-Lloyd Introduces Real-Time Container Monitoring Program
- Amazon Robotics Unveils Two New Types of Robots for Its Fulfillment Centers
The Flight of the Drones
Amazon Unveils Its Latest Prime Air Drone
Earlier this year, Amazon has announced that its U.S. Prime two-day shipping offer is evolving to a one-day program. Now, the e-commerce giant is on its way to deliver packages to customers even faster.
To demonstrate that, the company has unveiled the latest Prime Air drone design at Amazon’s re:MARS Conference in Las Vegas. The new generation of drones received advances in efficiency, stability and, most importantly, in safety. One of the outstanding aspects of the new unmanned aircraft is a hybrid design. It can do vertical takeoffs and landings – like a helicopter. And it’s efficient and aerodynamic – like an airplane. It also easily transitions between these two modes – from vertical-mode to airplane mode, and back to vertical mode.
Furthermore, the drone is controlled with six degrees of freedom, as opposed to the standard four. According to Amazon, they are using the latest AI technologies to ensure the highest level of safety during its movement.
“We’ve been hard at work building fully electric drones that can fly up to 15 miles and deliver packages under five pounds to customers in less than 30 minutes. And, with the help of our world-class fulfillment and delivery network, we expect to scale Prime Air both quickly and efficiently, delivering packages via drone to customers within months,” adds Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer.
Europe Publishes Common Drone Rules, Giving Operators a Year to Prepare
This month, Europe has published common rules for the use of drones. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) says the regulations, which will apply universally across the region, are intended to help drone operators of all stripes have a clear understanding of what is and is not allowed.
Although published on June 11th and due to come into force within 20 days, the common rules won’t yet apply — with the Member States getting another year, until June 2020, to prepare to implement the requirements.
“Europe will be the first region in the world to have a comprehensive set of rules ensuring safe, secure and sustainable operations of drones both, for commercial and leisure activities. Common rules will help foster investment, innovation, and growth in this promising sector” said Patrick Ky, Executive Director of EASA.
Video: Giant Delivery Drones Are Coming, but at What Cost?
Vehicles and Robots
Completely Driverless Truck, Volvo Vera, is Onto Its First Real-World Assignment
Volvo Trucks’ electric, connected and autonomous vehicle Vera will form part of an integrated solution to transport goods from a logistics center to a port terminal in Gothenburg, Sweden. The assignment is a result of a new collaboration between Volvo Trucks and the ferry and logistics company, DFDS.
The purpose of the collaboration is to implement Vera in a real application, enabling a connected system for a continuous flow of goods, from a DFDS’ logistics center to an APM Terminals port facility in Gothenburg, for distribution across the world.
In 2018, Volvo Trucks presented its first electric, connected and autonomous solution, designed for repetitive assignments in logistics centres, factories and ports. Vera is suited for short distances, transporting large volumes of goods with high precision.
“Now we have the opportunity to implement Vera in an ideal setting and further develop her potential for other similar operations,” says Mikael Karlsson, Vice President Autonomous Solutions at Volvo Trucks.
Scania Presents NXT Concept – an Autonomous Vehicle that Can Transport People, Cargo, And Garbage
The eight-meter-long bus module is built as one composite unit, substantially reducing weight. The modular system allows the vehicle to adjust to different needs and it can transport Cargo, People, and even Garbage. The cylindrical cell batteries are placed under the floor, thereby utilizing otherwise dead space as well as contributing to better weight distribution. With the low vehicle weight of fewer than eight tonnes, the range with present-day batteries is estimated at 245 kilometers.
“NXT is a vision of the future for transport in cities. Several of these technologies have yet to fully mature but for us, it’s been important to actually build a concept vehicle to visibly and technically demonstrate ideas of what is within reach. NXT is designed for 2030 and beyond while incorporating several cutting-edge features that are already available,” said Scania’s President and CEO Henrik Henriksson.
Other Logistics Innovation News
UPS Opens Tech-Driven Dutch Superhub
UPS has opened an automated package sorting and delivery facility in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, which facilitates cross-border trade while enhancing package delivery service for businesses small and large.
The 27,000m2 hub is equipped with advanced technology that can sort up to 29,000 packages per hour, with the potential to expand to 40,000 per hour. The opening also highlights UPS’s Women Exporters Program, part of a wider project to add three million women exporters to the global economy.
“Superhubs like this one are game changers and drive our European transborder connectivity, especially in the tech corridor where Eindhoven sits, the fastest growing part of the country where speed and reliability count. This tech-enabled facility provides fast and efficient connections to UPS’s smart global logistics network, which moves 3% of the world’s GDP every day,” said Nando Cesarone, president, UPS International.
Hapag-Lloyd Introduces Real-Time Container Monitoring Program
This month, Hapag-Lloyd introduced “Hapag-Lloyd LIVE” offering real-time GPS location, temperature information and power-off alerts fro the clients. In an initial step, the company is equipping its entire reefer fleet of some 100,000 containers with innovative IoT solution developed by Globe Tracker. As the program is designed to fit customers’ needs, Hapag-Lloyd intends to develop commercial products in close cooperation with its customers in order to adapt the solution even further.
The product features of “Hapag-Lloyd LIVE” will be gradually released for use as the entire reefer fleet is being outfitted. Furthermore, some “Hapag-Lloyd LIVE” features may also be made available upon request to dry container customers to add value through enhanced supply chain transparency.
“With our corporate ‘Strategy 2023’, we have set ourselves the goal of becoming number one for quality. Customers expect more reliable supply chains, so the industry needs to change and invest sufficiently. It is imperative that we understand and fulfill our customers’ needs faster than our competitors,” stated Juan Carlos Duk, Managing Director Global Commercial Development at Hapag-Lloyd.
Amazon Robotics Unveils Two New Types of Robots for Its Fulfillment Centers
Apart from the new drone solutions, Amazon announced new robotics products heading to its hundreds of fulfillment centers around the world during Amazon’s re:MARS conference in Las Vegas.
The e-commerce giant has been deploying a robotic palletizer for the better part of this year and now lifted over two billion pounds of totes across Amazon’s hundreds of fulfillment centers. In addition to that, in an effort to improve the speed and reliability of package sorting, the company has been rolling out a new sorting system — Pegasus — that’s driven two million miles to date and has already cut down mis-sorted goods by 50%, all while preserving the safety features of the existing drive system.
“We sort billions of packages a year. The challenge in package sortation is, how do you do it quickly and accurately? In a world of Prime one-day [delivery], accuracy is super-important. If you drop a package off a conveyor, lose track of it for a few hours — or worse, you mis-sort it to the wrong destination, or even worse if you drop it and damage the package and the inventory inside — we can’t make that customer promise anymore,” shared Brad Porter, Vice President of Robotics at Amazon, during his keynote.