Parcel delivery provider Deutsche Post DHL has released its latest report, Robotics in Logistics, examining the future role of robotics in the logistics industry. The report acknowledges that while collaborative robots have taken root in certain industries, such as the automotive market, they have yet to establish themselves in logistics due to the complex nature of parcel handling.
Matthias Heutger, senior vice president strategy, marketing and innovation, DHL Customer Solutions and Innovation, said, “Robots work in many industries but haven’t made an impact on logistics yet because of the complexity of the work handling a wide array of different things in an infinite number of combinations, close to people and in confined spaces. Current research shows that 80% of logistics facilities today are still manual. Recently, however, technology is just starting to catch up to meet demands for flexible and low-cost robots that could collaboratively work in logistics.”
The report claims that this next generation of flexible, low-cost robots will be able to move and react to its environment, and will work at precision tasks in delivery offices alongside people. These advancements are being driven by investments made from governments, venture capitalists and large corporate companies such as Amazon. The report highlights investments such as the European Commission’s SPARC program, which will spend 700m (US$780m) in robotics research over the coming years. The report also states that a consortium of 180 European companies have pledged an additional 2.1bn (US$2.3bn) to robotics research by the year 2020.
Clemens Beckmann, executive vice president innovation, Post eCommerce Parcel, Deutsche Post DHL Group, said, “Just like our children can’t picture a world without computers, it is likely that their children will feel the same way about robots. Developing the next generation of robots that can work around and among people will take a substantial investment to advance the technology, but at DHL Group we believe that soon supply chains will see humans and robots working side by side to handle goods faster and more economically.”
As part of its commitment to developing innovations in the industry, DHL will be hosting a Robotics Day on April 7, 2016, at its Innovation Center in Bonn, Germany. The event will showcase the latest developments from robotics in the parcel industry highlighting advancements in gripping technology, exoskeleton support, autonomous transport and swarm robots, where units work together to perform a task such as transporting a parcel that may be too heavy for one robot alone.
To read more from DHL’s Robotics in Logistics report click here.
March 14, 2016