Self-driving vehicles will change the world of logistics, according to a new study by DHL “There is a strong case for suggesting that the logistics industry will adopt self-driving vehicles much faster than most other industries,” DHL Trend Research says in its report “Self-Driving Vehicles in Logistics.”
One reason this industry will be quick to take advantage of the new technology is that there are different rules that would apply to a vehicle that operates in a secure private zone that is transporting goods instead of people.
The report points out that currently there are numerous applications of autonomous technology in logistics, ”providing further evidence that driverless vehicles are safe and successful in closed environments.”
Looking specifically at the advantage this type of technology could bring to warehousing operations, the reports point out:
Self-driving vehicles in warehouses have the ability not just to transport goods but also to combine other process steps such as loading and unloading in order to increase the overall efficiency of an entire process. In addition to providing efficiency gains, self-driving vehicles can also significantly increase safety in transport and loading processes.
Another area that will benefit from the technology is in assisted order picking.
With autonomous technologies, the assisted picking cart of the future can autonomously follow the picker as they move through the rack system. Before the cart reaches full capacity, the picker simply sends it to the drop-off location or directly to the packing area. Meanwhile, and initiated in advance, another replacement picking cart joins the picker, ready for new products to be placed on it.The main benefit of this application is a more efficient and ergonomic picking process.
Analysts expect many more applications in future along the entire supply chain, particularly in outdoor logistics operations, line haul transportation, and last-mile delivery.