The New Year started with the CES® 2017 (formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, January 5-8 followed by the NAIAS (North American International Auto Show) in Detroit, January 8-22. Both of these shows highlighted one of the major tech trends for 2017 – the self-driving car.
In 2011, Google announced that this technology that had been envisioned and imagined for the better part of the 20th century was within its grasp, as a result of increasing sophistication of computer navigation, GPS technology, and camera technology.
This year, CES and NAIAS again put a spotlight on the mounting competition between not just the automakers but also the suppliers vying to provide the high-tech components that allow vehicles to navigate through a world of obstacles. Since this technology seems closer than ever, analysts have picked up speculation about the implications of driverless cars in terms of their impact on automotive safety, liability, as well as on the job prospects for the massive workforce of truck drivers, which consists of 3.5 million individuals in the U.S. alone (according to the American Trucking Association).
Supply Chain specialists, Argentus recently asked the question “what will be the impact of driverless cars and trucks on the Logistics field in general?” It’s speculated that this technology might lower the demand for truck drivers – but for logistics planners and service providers (3PLs), are there opportunities for Supply Chain efficiency and strategic advantages?
In an attempt to get a better handle on this emerging trend and how it will impact the Logistics field, express logistics leader DHL commissioned a report on the topic. A few key benefits from autonomous driving outlined by the report: • Improved Safety through a reduction in driver error. • Lower Environmental Impact through having fewer vehicles on the road and more efficient fuel consumption. • Higher Efficiency through speeding up traffic flows, and by allowing freight trucks to travel 24/7 without requiring driver rest time.
The report cites a staggering statistic, that autonomous driving could lower costs for freight by as much as 40% per kilometer.
The impact of this technology on the logistics field (letting aside the wider world of transportation) might be huge. As DHL’s report says, “there is a strong case for suggesting that the logistics industry will adopt self-driving vehicles much faster than most other industries.” This adoption of the technology will probably initially take place in secure, private areas like warehouses and open-air sites – and the report outlines how vehicles carrying freight have less liability issues than vehicles carrying people, which also points towards an early adoption of the technology by the Logistics field.
According to the report, the core areas that self-driving technology will impact in Logistics are: • Warehousing Operations, through technologies like autonomous loading, auto pallet movers, and assisted order picking. • Line Haul Transportation, through technologies like assisted highway trucking, and convoys with one live driver in a truck in front with oversight over a convoy of autonomous vehicles behind it. • Last-mile Delivery, which the report calls both “the least predictable part of the entire journey” and “the most visionary application of self-driving vehicles in logistics.” Advances in autonomous driving promise to transform and improve last-mile delivery through technologies such as parcel station loading, shared cars, and (get this) self-driving parcels.
Argentus believes that the most likely near-term outcome of advances in autonomous vehicles is that a hybrid approach will emerge, with control still in the hands of a driver, but with more technologies automating the driving process with the goal of achieving the gains noted above. Quite a few automotive manufacturers are already embracing hybrid automated technologies that still demand human attention such as adaptive cruise control, and a number of logistics service providers are already beginning to deploy partially-automated transportation systems. The fast changing self-driving car & eventually truck trend is definitely a tech trend that all industries and supply chains need to monitor closely as we inch closer to 2020.
As reported by Forbes and VentureBeat here are some other top tech trends for 2017:
The Global Impact of President Trump According to Sarwant Singh, a contributor at Forbes, we should expect notable shifts in U.S. relationships with Asia and Europe. Based on what Trump can do unilaterally, there is likely to be a significant pullback in current environmental policies, growth in the US energy sector, and strengthened trade partnerships between Asian countries.
Massive Growth in Artificial Intelligence Expect a greater presence across devices, cases, and geographies for Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri and Amazon Alexa.
Home Automation Technology Smart Homes will become connected homes as Apple Home, Google Home and Amazon Echo expand their ecosystems to create cohesive ecosystems. Just think of energy efficiency with the launch of Nest as an example. The strength of each company’s Artificial Intelligence will be the key to success.
IoT (The Internet of Things) Goes Mainstream As IoT goes mainstream, companies will turn their focus to sentient tools. Sentient tools are aware of their context, environment, and social interactions. As technologies such as cloud-based AI, collaborative robots, and ever-more sophisticated machine-learning algorithms begin to converge, we will start to see the emergence of these capabilities in smart cars, homes, and manufacturing. Autonomous cars are the most visible example of this class of tool. This family of coming products is defined by having situational awareness, intelligence and advanced machine/human communications capability. There is some worry that these types of tools could replace human labor force but they are designed to work side by side. To learn more check out this article click here:
And don’t forget the: • Impact of BREXIT • Increasing Global Isolationism • Voice Recognition as the Next Big User Interface
The full DHL report is available HERE!