arrived in the Dutch port of Rotterdam, having travelled allthe way from Sweden.
While technologies like LiDAR and 5G connectivity openthe door to this revolution in transport, other areas of engineering must keep pace. From suspension joints to columndesign, parts suppliers must be able to offer design flexibilityand high-quality vehicle components to help original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) develop automated vehicles.
If all of the above sounds somewhat speculative, it is worthnoting the number of trials that are already taking place andthe fact that governments are relaxing regulations to encourage this. The U.S. Department of Transportation has grantedan exemption to normal rules to allow Nuro to test R2, its autonomous van, in Texas. In the UK, the Academy of Roboticsis testing its Kar-go to carry out deliveries from pharmacies tonursing homes in Hounslow.
We cannot say with certainty when fully automated vehicles and robots will take over the job of fulfilling our increasing demand for deliveries. It seems likely, however, thatthis revolution will take place before the year 3000. ContraFuturama, Fry might find he has been replaced by a drone orautomated van. After all, Nuro’s R2 has already announced itwill be delivering Pizza for Domino’s. MH&L
Roger Brereton is head of sales at Pailton Engineering( www.pailton.com), a provider of steering systems.
from 14% to 17% globally.
Another structural factor that shouldn’t be overlooked isthe importance of urbanization. Ask any specialist in logisticsand they will tell you that the final mile of delivery is the mostdifficult. According to some estimates, last mile delivery accounts for over half the cost of delivery. Dense and complexurban environments, which include high-rise buildings, limited parking spaces and unusual traffic regulations, add to thedifficulties of last mile delivery.
According to UN estimates, the percentage of all peopleliving in urban areas is expected to rise from its current levelof 55% to 68% by mid-century. Therefore, those in the logistics industry have every incentive to investigate the possibility of automated vans, robots, or drones as a solution to thisgrowing dilemma.
For autonomous delivery trucks and vans, automationmight provide an answer to worker shortages. In the U.S. forexample, the driver shortage is estimated to reach 150,000 by2028. The long hours and difficult working conditions makeit expensive and difficult to recruit enough drivers, in an industry where turnover is high.
Although fully autonomous vehicles are a long way off,greater automation, such as platooning, is seen as a potentialmeans of improving productivity to meet the extra demandthat these vehicles will face. This involves linking two ormore trucks together using connectivity and automated driving support systems. In 2016 a convoy of self-driving trucks
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In the sci-fi sitcom “Futurama,” the protagonist Fry is blast- ed forward in time to New Year 2999 where he finds he is till, alas, a humble pizza delivery boy. Recent trends suggest, however, that many deliveries will soon be fulfilled byautomated technologies, whether automated trucks, drones, orrobots. In this article, we’ll look at why some experts are expecting a greater role for automation in deliveries sooner thanyou might think.
The effort to automate vehicles began with passenger vehicles. Now, there is arguably greater focus on automating deliveries. Around the world, many companies and governmentsare testing drones, robots and autonomous trucking to helpmeet growing demand.
The rise of e-commerce, coupled with growing consumerpreferences for same-day or next-day delivery, is one factorthat is driving this interest, as those in transportation and logistics seek ways to provide cheaper and more efficient deliveries. According to a recent report from UNCTAD, 2020will come to be seen as a major turning point in the rise ofe-commerce, which grew as a percentage of total retail trade
Automated vehicles and robotsare increasingly fulfilling ourdemand for timely deliveries.
By Roger Brereton
Are Automated Deliveries