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The future of logistics: automation brings speed and safety

Telematics systems are also contributing to this process

Self-driving trucks, automated warehouses, vehicle tracking, drones – these aren’t buzzwords from the latest Hollywood sci-fi blockbuster, but the logistics solutions of the future, and the spread of these technologies could made domestic goods transportation much more effective, safer and quicker. To mark European Supply Chain Day on 27 April, the telematics service provider WebEye is offering an insight into the solutions that could reshape the logistics processes of the future.

Based on WebEye’s estimates, the haulage industry is set to undergo a major transformation in the next 5-10 years, driven by the availability of information anytime and anywhere, the growing demand for customer-generated data, and the more efficient decision-making processes being established in response to this.

The logistical processes of the future will also be affected greatly by innovations in other sectors, such as the vehicle industry, where the latest developments are aimed at leveraging the opportunities inherent in self-driving trucks, networked vehicles and delivery by drone. Another technology that can’t be ignored is 3D printing, the evolution and widespread adoption of which could shorten the supply chain and slash the costs of deliveries. Rapid progress is also expected in the development of machine to machine (M2M) communication technology, which could for example facilitate the automation of warehouse logistical processes and the widespread use of driver safety support systems, to ensure more punctual and safe performance of deliveries.

These trends will profoundly influence the way we think about logistics, and will certainly open up new dimensions in terms of developing quicker and safer solutions. Until they start to be used in real-life situations, however, there’s still a lot we can do to improve these aspects through deliberate planning, monitoring, and by using the data that can be obtained during the various processes”, said Pál Németh, CEO of WebEye International.

According to WebEye, the telematics provider with the widest coverage in Europe, the data that can be gleaned from vehicles is growing in importance both in the domestic and international logistics market. In a world where not only historic data, but also an increasingly quantity of real-time data is at hand, data analysis and the deliberate planning based on this can be used to boost transportation capacity, for example, but can also reduce the costs of servicing:  “We’re now at the stage where, instead of performing manual inspections, we receive alerts at predetermined times to let us know when the vehicles need servicing. It’s possible that in future these alerts will be triggered by the diagnostic status of vehicle components, so you’ll only need to take vehicles off the road when it really is necessary in order to replace a part”, added Németh.