July 1, 2019

The Future of Automation in Shipping & Logistics

The technologies, systems and processes involved with shipping & logistics are evolving at a rapid rate. Currently, there are three primary methods for moving freight and products; air (plane), ocean (ship), and ground (trucking) – but times are changing and some of the biggest and most innovative technology companies are closer to introducing groundbreaking advancements than you may believe. These technologies are sure to drive down costs of shipping for consumers due to the fact that people (labor) currently constitute one of the largest expenses to shippers.

What Are the Upcoming Transformation Advancements?

Autonomous Trucks

Autonomous trucking is a hot button issue in society and business, but do not doubt that this revolution will occur sooner or later. Companies like Volvo, Nvidia, Waymo, USPS and more are racing to bring this technology into the mainstream and many are already in the beta testing phase.

Autonomous Drone Delivery

Popularized by Amazon, drone delivery could dramatically change the shipping industry in the very near future. According to a recent story by The Verge, these hybrid aircraft are capable of vertical takeoff and landings and claims that Amazon plans to start using this service in a matter of months. These advanced drones use thermal cameras, depth cameras and sonar sensors to detect potential hazards along their route and could be in use by late 2019 or 2020 if FAA approval doesn’t result in additional issues or delays.

Process Automation (TMS Systems)

This technology is already in place with many leading-edge logistics companies. Instead of having a person research and make determinations related to routes, pricing and more – TMS (Transportation Management Systems) allow for more efficient, timely and cost effective processing. These TMS systems also work all of the time, without limitations, so they are able to take and receive a nearly unlimited number of orders per hour.

What Can We Expect for the Future?

Don’t make the mistake in assuming that the next wave of technological advancements in transportation will be the last. Imagine the potential for advancements we may see even further in the future. Is a time where consumers buy a license and materials cartridge are able to use 3D printers to create the products they want and need immediately – in their own homes and businesses? What could you imagine for the future of shipping and logistics?

Authored by Charles Marrale, COO of ExFreight

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