Self-driving vehicles will change the world of logistics, according to DHL, which has produced a report looking at the potential of autonomous technologies.
Autonomous vehicles already exist in the warehouse environment, and the report, Self-driving vehicles in logistics, looks are the prospect of such vehicles on the public roads.
It anticipates in the near future, enhancements to existing driver-assistance functions. That would be followed by the introduction of autonomous driving in specific situations such as on congested highways.
And further into the future, it expects to see fully autonomous truck convoys on highways, 24/7.
“There is no doubt that autonomous driving will change the world of logistics,” said Matthias Heutger, senior vice president strategy, marketing & innovation, DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation. “DHL is already applying many solutions for autonomous logistics in warehouse operations and we see ourselves in a prime position to further drive the trend of self-driving vehicles in our industry.”
The report says that self-driving vehicles can provide a range of benefits including improved road safety, greater fuel efficiency and reduced environmental impact.
However, considerable catching up is also required regarding regulations, public acceptance, and issues of liability. Despite these barriers, some compelling use cases have already emerged, clearly indicating that many organisations are willing to develop and deploy self-driving technologies.
“Some warehouse operations have been using self-driving vehicles to some extent for years, but making driving in logistics more and more autonomous will change the logistics sector dramatically”, said Dr Markus Kückelhaus, director DHL Trend Research. “Moving onto public roads is the next evolutionary step. With its history in deploying self-driving solutions in controlled environments, the logistics industry is in a prime position to further shape the future of self-driving vehicles.”