'Unmanned logistics' is the unmanned delivery of the whole process: the parcels leave from the unmanned warehouse, are quickly transported to the distribution center through the unmanned heavy truck, and then transported to the last mile unmanned delivery trolley and board the elevator To customers. With the development of this epidemic, the industry's concern about unmanned logistics is gradually increasing. In this article, let's explore the current situation and development of unmanned logistics.
The status and development of unmanned logistics: it is still in its infancy!
Image source: Internet
I. Background of unmanned development of logistics
The current unmanned logistics promoted by giants in e-commerce and logistics industry is to meet the hugely increasing demand for efficient processing and distribution of express parcels, with the purpose of improving consumer experience, taking digitalization as the core driving force, and using automation and intelligent technology and equipment Replace manpower. Constrained by technology, cost, and policy conditions, the real realization of unmanned logistics is still quite far away, but as a development direction, its research significance lies in using smart logistics technology to realize the coordinated operation of equipment and manpower to improve logistics efficiency. Reduce logistics costs.
In terms of unmanned innovation and development of logistics, Amazon is in the leading position in the world. The success of Amazon's e-commerce business is inseparable from its continuous creation of advanced logistics systems. The most notable of these is that in 2012, Amazon spent $ 775 million to acquire robot maker Kiva Systems. Since 2014, it has begun to implement robotic 'cargo to people' systems. A large number of Kiva robots shuttled through Amazon's distribution center and moved the shelves with the goods to the operators, which greatly saved the time for pickers to walk and pick up goods in the warehouse, and significantly improved logistics efficiency. Around 2013, Amazon launched another drone logistics project. At the end of 2014, another Amazon patent “Air Logistics Center” was approved.
Amazon's successful exploration in the field of unmanned logistics has undoubtedly played a demonstrative role. Ali, JD.com, Suning, etc. followed closely, and carried out research on unmanned logistics, and led express logistics companies to enter the field. Taken together, the unmanned development of logistics is driven by the following factors:
The first is market demand. The explosive growth and huge scale of China's e-commerce market has provided huge momentum and market space for the development of logistics technology innovation. In 2018, the “Double 11” major e-commerce enterprises generated 1,352 million express logistics orders throughout the day, and the annual express parcel volume exceeded 50 billion. In addition to large numbers, fast speed has become an eternal theme of the logistics industry, and automated logistics systems must be adopted to improve efficiency.
The second is technological development. The continuous development of the Internet, the Internet of Things, big data, AI and other technologies has led to the creation of more efficient and intelligent logistics equipment and logistics systems, providing conditions for unmanned logistics.
The third is the disappearance of demographic dividend and rising labor costs. Therefore, in the long run, it is an inevitable trend to replace manpower with automated equipment to complete various logistics operations.
Fourth, a number of policies were introduced to promote the development of the logistics industry. Many of them mentioned encouraging the development, innovation and promotion of software and hardware technology and equipment for intelligent logistics, which created a favorable policy environment for unmanned logistics.
Fifth, capital assistance. Smart logistics technology is sought after. Some logistics technology equipment with technical advantages, especially robot companies, have received a lot of financing to help them continue to provide intelligent logistics technology equipment.
Status of unmanned logistics development
The logistics industry is changing towards unmanned, automated, and black technology. Smart logistics will provide consumers with diversified and personalized products and services. In China, Alibaba G, JD.com, Meituan, Baidu, Suning AGV, SF and foreign Nuro, Domino's, Intel and other companies have developed a new batch of intelligent logistics distribution robots.
These mobile robots can recognize and avoid obstacles and traffic lights, and can also drive automatically, route planning, active lane change, parking space recognition, autonomous parking, and so on. Users can achieve fast meal retrieval and express delivery through facial recognition, entering passwords, and scanning QR codes.
Driverless technology and logistics delivery are actually a very good match. Distributing labor costs to logistics delivery can greatly reduce expenses. In terms of logistics delivery, driverless cars mainly complete package and catering transportation services. Compared with distribution robots, their carrying capacity will be larger.
It provides services such as retail and food preparation. For example, Pizza Hut and Toyota, Ford ROBOCAR's pizza delivery and takeaway delivery service, Kroger and Nuro's fully automated driverless car delivery service, AutoX fresh delivery and IKEA mobile cafe.
3.Unmanned truck distribution
Compared with the self-driving of private cars, it may be possible to realize commercialization in freight and logistics faster. As an important part of logistics, trucks are being developed and applied by enterprises.
Tucson Future, Tesla, Waymo, Cainiao, Uber, JD, Suning, Xijing Technology, Dongfeng, Volvo and other companies have already made great achievements in the development of driverless trucks! And most companies said that by 2020, commercial trial operation of driverless trucks will be realized.
Logistics drones, as an important landing project for drones in the commercial field, have received the attention and vigorous promotion of countries around the world. In foreign countries, many large logistics companies including UPS, FedEx, DHL, and Google and Amazon have already begun to deploy drone delivery. In China, JD.com, SF, Meituan, and Hungry are also actively deploying unmanned. Machine delivery.
For the moment, in order to achieve low cost and high efficiency, drone logistics is mainly implemented in remote areas and fourth- and fifth-tier cities. It has been able to meet the end delivery requirements of most regions. On a technical level, drone distribution has become possible.
Development Trend of Unmanned Logistics
Unmanned logistics is the result of joint efforts of market demand and technological upgrade. With the transformation of e-commerce and traditional retail to new retail, and the upgrading and development of manufacturing intelligent manufacturing, the logistics system is deeply integrated with the retail system and intelligent manufacturing. The importance of logistics has become more prominent. The demand for unmanned logistics technology from e-commerce, The logistics giant is gradually expanding to more industries.
Today, there are more and more scenarios in distribution centers, distribution centers, and production lines and warehouses of manufacturing companies, new retail stores, unmanned restaurants, and even unmanned docks, including unmanned storage, unmanned sorting, and unmanned. In logistics links such as line-side warehouses, automated and intelligent equipment such as AGVs and robots are widely used, helping companies to improve logistics operations, reduce the number of employees, improve logistics efficiency, reduce logistics costs, and enhance competitive advantages. In particular, e-commerce and new retail, express delivery, automotive, and electronics industries hope to accelerate the introduction of automated and intelligent logistics equipment to replace manual operations.
However, unmanned logistics is still in its infancy due to factors such as immature technology, cost to be reduced, and lack of policy support.
First of all, any technology has its own applicable conditions, and the logistics automation equipment system is not a panacea. Take unmanned warehouse as an example. Due to the many logistics operations, complex site conditions, and diverse logistics operations, it is difficult to achieve standardization in terms of products, equipment, and operation processes. It completely replaces manpower with equipment to achieve all logistics operations in a warehouse or factory. Unmanned, and achieving a balance of efficiency, quality, and cost, is still quite difficult. At this stage, companies need to establish a correct understanding. One-sided pursuit of unmanned logistics is not a good way. There are some positions where the work efficiency of people will be higher, and what needs to be reduced is repetitive labor.
Second, unmanned logistics requires a large number of high-tech equipment and intelligent systems to be used, and the implementation cost is relatively high, which is unbearable for most enterprises. From the perspective of Xiao Jun, vice president of Jingdong Group and president of the X division, China's population base is large at present, and labor costs have not become the biggest challenge facing enterprises. Therefore, it will not be necessary for equipment to completely replace manual operations for a long time to come. Human-machine collaboration will remain the most prominent feature of unmanned logistics. He suggested that when companies introduce automation systems, they should start with local improvements and gradually accumulate experience before expanding the scope of application. To realize the unmannedness of the entire logistics scene, it is not dependent on the development and application of a certain type of equipment. The most important thing is the overall solution.
Finally, technology needs to be improved. For example, the main technical bottlenecks of unmanned warehouses-robotics, artificial intelligence algorithms, and precise identification technology-need to be broken. In addition, logistics robots, as one of the core technical equipment of unmanned warehouses, need to have the ability to walk, recognize, and grasp in order to replace humans. At present, related technologies are yet to be upgraded, and costs still need to be reduced. According to Liu Shihong, the chief operating officer of Shanghai Eurochain Supply Chain Management Co., Ltd., good AGV products should be able to be quickly deployed, run fast, and relocated to adapt to flexible application scenarios. In addition, AGV also needs to be implemented with transmission systems, elevators, forklifts, and manual Flexible integration. These are issues that need to be addressed.
In fact, in the future, the unmanned logistics technology represented by unmanned warehouses, unmanned vehicles, and drones will not only bring a substantial improvement in logistics operation efficiency, but also become a new driving force for the development of the logistics industry and make the logistics industry Gradually changing from labor-intensive to technology-intensive, the entire logistics industry will produce subversive changes.
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