According to the latest study published by DHL, the freight and express arm of Deutsche Post AG, the shipping companies might adopt autonomous driving technology even faster than other industries.
While Google and numerous automakers plan to soon unleash self-driving cars on the roads, they might do that faster with the help of the logistics industry for a simple reason: they offer a near perfect training ground for the initial trials of automated vehicles. That’s because shipping companies such as DHL have huge, non-public areas like storage facilities and warehouses where cargo is constantly on the move – the devices might be tested in such areas with minimum threat to human life. The company added that after this first step, the next logical move would be to have the automated vehicles bring packages to a pick-up station where a client could pick them up.
Matthias Heutger and Markus Kueckelhaus, the authors of the study say that DHL aims to “maintain pole position in the world of self-driving vehicles,” and after pushing into the delivery business, automated vehicles could then be used in open spaces such as shipyards, ports and airports to automate movement of pallets and swap containers. Also, besides improving road safety and fuel efficiency, the study claims self-driving devices would greatly increase the economics of the logistics business.