“Across Logistics” Innovation News Release: October 2017

4 min read

As any other industry, in order to move forward, the logistics sector has to face the new challenges and find the ways to overcome them. With an increasing customer demand for products and services, logistics players have to be agile and think out of the box. If such questions as “What can we do to help postal workers operate more efficiently in the cities?” or “How can we optimize the last mile delivery?” are on the discussion board, then companies need to look for help in the realm of latest technology. Consequently, we can increase the efficiency of postal workers by accompanying them with the robots and optimize last mile delivery by giving access to such tools as the innovative location delivery system and autonomous vehicles. It is true that the number of challenges for the industry is increasing year-to-year. However, the amount and the quality of solutions are increasing as well, thus the logistics players should constantly scan the market for new ones and not to be afraid to test them. Perhaps, that is the way to become a top-notch service provider in the 21st century.

Welcome to the October Issue of “Across Logistics” Innovation News Release, where we are presenting you the latest innovative technologies in logistics.

Here is the list of topics in this issue:

Deutsche Post is testing the “PostBOT,” an electric postal delivery robot

Picture Credit: Deutsche Post DHL group/Bernd Georg

If you are keeping an eye on the field of local delivery, you might know about a number of startups who are experimenting with technology in this space. For instance, you probably heard of Starship – one of the pioneers in robotics technology for local deliveries. However, giants like Deutsche Post are also investing in the pilots for digitalizing the local deliveries. The company announced that they started field tests of an electric postal delivery robot PostBOT in the city of Bad Hersfeld, Germany. The robot is designed to accompany the mail carriers and to help them with carrying the heavy loads. According to Deutsche Post, PostBOT can carry loads of up to 150 kg, apply sensors to follow the legs of a mail carrier and to navigate around the obstacles on the streets.

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Aramex trial improves the speed of last mile deliveries by 40%

Although electric vehicles and drones are set to redefine the last mile delivery, there is still room for more conventional ways of delivery optimization. For example, recently Aramex ran a trial which resulted in the 40% speed increase for the last mile deliveries.

How did they do it? The answer might be surprisingly simple: instead of using a regular street address system, Aramex used 3 word addresses provided by the location system what3words. The addressing system divides the whole world into 3m x 3m squares, each having a unique 3 word address. The accuracy of such system allows to easily identify front doors, mall entrances and delivery points. It also decreases the amount of time a delivery person spends looking for the right delivery site. The study conducted by Aramex in Dubai provided very positive results: the implementation of such system can increase the speed of deliveries by 42% and decrease the total distance traveled by the drivers by 22%.

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Driverless freight train pilots in Australia

In our previous news releases, we touched upon such topics as self-driving trucks, driverless cargo ships and autonomous cargo planes. However, what we have never discussed is a topic of driverless freight trains. Australian mining company Rio Tinto announced that they have successfully completed a 100 km pilot run of the first ever fully autonomous heavy haul train journey in Australia. The pilot brings the company one step closer to building the world’s first fully-autonomous heavy haul, long-distance rail network. Rio Tinto stated that they direct their efforts towards improving safety, benefiting the environment and boosting productivity.

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Amazon to deliver packages inside clients’ houses, even if there is no one at home

Picture Credit: Amazon.com

One of the most inconvenient things of home delivery is that it is usually done during a working time on a weekday and you might need to be at home for this. Amazon claims that they found a solution to this problem. Recently, the company reported that it would launch a service called “Amazon Key” that will allow delivery people to enter client’s home and drop off the delivery when no one is at home. In order to use the service, Amazon offers a set of a security camera and a wi-fi connected lock. This solution may also allow other service providers such as housekeepers and dog walkers to enter home seamlessly without possessing a key. Despite the security concerns, Amazon is sure that the service won’t cause any troubles for the clients. The company will also provide the Amazon Key Happiness Guarantee, which will cover delivery issues, property damage or theft.

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Deutsche Post DHL partners with NVIDIA and ZF to automate the last mile delivery

Picture Credit: Deutsche Post DHL

In order to bring the power of new technologies to the logistics industry, the players should not be afraid of forming strategic partnerships with either startups or tech giants. The great example of such partnership is the cooperation between Deutsche Post DHL Group, Nvidia and auto supplier ZF which aims to deploy a test fleet of autonomous delivery trucks next year. DPDHL will empower their electric light trucks with the ZF ProAI self-driving system, which is based on NVIDIA DRIVE PX technology. ZF ProAI system is built on the set of sensors and cameras which enable the vehicle to use AI to analyze the environment and to make decisions regarding safe paths and parking.

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