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Autonomous Vehicles Set to Disrupt Transport and Logistics

28/07/2018

The advent of drones has disrupted industries in recent years, particularly in the logistics sector where speed and efficiency of delivery are of utmost importance. Following closely behind this innovation is another logistics disrupter set to shake things up and make our lives even better.

Autonomous vehicles (AVs) are increasingly gaining a lot of attention due to their potential in improving not only public transport but in the delivery of consumer products as well. Aside from costs, AVs will be able to help businesses save on manpower. While the immediate impact of AVs can be seen in the transport sector where commuters and private car owners stand to gain an advantage in terms of travel, its effect on logistics look even more promising.

Application of AVs on Logistics

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Autonomous vehicles will play an important role in logistics within the next five to 10 years, according to a report by Cushman & Wakefield.

  • Freight vehicles can be automated to be more fuel efficient, improve productivity and reduce labor costs.
  •  Delivery vans can be replaced with AVs to improve business service. These AVs may even function beyond the normal working hours and restrictions of standard operations.
  • AVs will be able to transport passengers’ luggage from one airport terminal to another.

In fact, AVs are now being introduced in airports across the globe for tarmac operations. In Singapore, trials are being conducted for AVs to operate on the tarmac of Changi Airport. Guided automated vehicles are now being tested at the airport to pull baggage trucks containing passengers’ luggage. It will not be long before AVs will be able to ferry airport passengers from one terminal to another. If AVs are successfully deployed, the airport will be able to meet its growing demand for manpower.

AVs in Warehouse Management

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There is high potential in the use of AVs in large-scale warehouses. Mundane tasks such as material handling and order picking can be done by self-driving vehicles. Automating these tasks will cut down costs, reduce labor and improve efficiency.

The supply chain is increasingly seeing major changes in the coming years. In Spain, for instance, automated forklifts, pallet trucks and stackers are being developed to speed up tasks in warehouses and factories. Amazon has previously deployed thousands of robots to work in their warehouses alongside humans. With the use of AVs and other advanced technologies, warehouse management in the future will make things easier for businesses and ultimately for consumers.

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