The freight and logistics industries have gone through an incredible amount of changes in only the last fifty or so years, and every day another step forward is being taken. Today there are many new technologies in development that may make incredible improvements in the future and, perhaps, change the way we work entirely.
While we are not quite ready to say that robots will completely replace the human work force, they are certainly demonstrating their usefulness and provoking more companies to invest in their development. One Dutch port in particular wants to demonstrate what robotics is capable of and how it can change the logistics industry for the better. This port in Rotterdam might just be the most efficient in the world, with fully automated machines loading and unloading cargo and even changing their own batteries. These robots are designed to prevent port workers from having to walk several miles a day around the port and innovative camera technology allows the robots to locate and identify the products they are transporting, which may help to reduce errors in the future. Robots as tall as 125 meters are completely automated and are helping to take dangerous tasks away from the human employees. Elsewhere, robots are being tested to locate and carry products in a warehouse. Thanks to developments in Artificial intelligence, these robots are actually getting better at their jobs and there may even be a time when they don’t need any supervision or guidance at all. With robotics, we may see the logistics industry becoming far more efficient.
It might not be too long before we start seeing wearable technology becoming an essential asset for the logistics industry. Already it has proved its usefulness in one warehouse in the Netherlands. Ubimax, the market leading experts in wearable computing solutions, and Ricoh, a multinational images and electronics company, supplied technology to workers at this particular warehouse that was able to increase the picking process and reduce the amount of errors. The workers were guided through the warehouse by a pair of ‘Smart Glasses’ which displayed information about the product location, quantity and other general information that they might usually need to have written down. With their hands free and the information about their task clearly displayed, the result was a 25% increase in efficiency. While we are still a long way away from seeing this kind of technology being used regularly in warehouses, there is no doubt that this experiment has certainly awakened the logistics industry to this technology’s potential.
It seems that self-driving vehicles are a particularly popular topic these days, and the logistics industry has certainly not ignored the potential that this kind of technology possesses. Self-driving trucks, for example, are one thing that many people are excited for. These trucks will allow freight forwarders to keep a closer eye on where the products are and what the conditions are. They will also be able to make necessary changes to speed and route if such things as inclement weather become an issue. But, it’s not just trucks that might be functioning without a driver in 30 years. Drone ships are something that certain companies are looking into developing. These cargo vessels will be controlled from land, which implies that they will be safer, cheaper to operate and more efficient. The concept behind this technology is that a drone ship would be able to communicate with the robots responsible for unloading cargo on land, making the process a lot faster and reducing the amount of error.
These technologies have already shown incredible promise and, before they have even finished being developed, they have managed to change the priorities of the freight industry and inspired new ideas and developments. Here, at Barrington Freight, we are excited to see how these innovations might change our European and world wide freight services and look forward to discovering how we can continue to improve the freight and logistics industry.