American logistics giant FedEx have said they expect this year’s peak season to be „record breaking” and have even gone so far as to label it a „shipathon”. In order to navigate its way through what could be a relentless Q4, the company have invested in a number of tech solutions.
FedEx proudly showed off most of these solutions during last week’s Peak Innovation Showcase event.
Autonomous last mile delivery vehicles, a tie-up with Mercedes Benz, a new tracking system, and a data partnership with Microsoft, are all expected to reap rewards during this year’s unprecedented peak season.
Here’s a summary of the aforementioned tech:
FedEx Surround is the first solution to come from FedEx’s collaboration with Microsoft. According to FedEx, the technology allows „any business to enhance visibility into its supply chain by leveraging data to provide near-real-time analytics into shipment tracking”.
The system is aimed at providing more precise logistics and inventory management. FedEx boast that the system’s near-real-time insights, which can go down to the granular level of ZIP code, „shine a digital light on the progress and movement of physical inventory.”
FedEx’s SenseAware ID is another tech solution that is designed to bring more supply chain visibility. FedEx argue that the system offers „enhanced location visibility” that „will create opportunities for FedEx customers to reimagine their supply chain through real-time updates on a package’s location”.
The company also believe that SenseAware ID will improve the safety, security and timeliness of deliveries. This, they claim, makes it ideal for packages that contain critical contents such as life-saving pharmaceuticals and emergency medical supplies. Naturally, this includes Covid-19 vaccines.
Roxo same-day delivery bot
Like a number of other giant logistics companies, FedEx are currently testing their autonomous delivery bots. FedEx’s own bot, Roxo, has been in testing mode now for the best part of a year.
FedEx claim the robot can transport both hot and cold items, while its wheels are said to be capable of traversing the challenging terrain presented by urban environments.
The bots are to work in a radius spanning between three and five-miles, and can transport up to 100 pounds of goods. The plan is for the bots to be deployed by retailers, restaurants, and pharmacies. The theory is that the bots can be put into action quicker than a traditional courier or a 3rd party carrier.
CoROS and Mercedes Benz system
FedEx have also been working with Mercedes Benz to adopt the use of the German manufacturer’s „Cargo Recognition and Organisation System”, a.k.a CoROS. The technology has been in the works for some time, as evidenced from the above video, which dates back to 2018.
The aim of the CoROS system is to standardise and optimise the labour-intensive processes of last mile delivery, as well as to create transparency regarding the current location of individual packages.
One major advantage of the tech is that the van itself automatically scans every package loaded within it, meaning the courier doesn’t have to. A lighting system also instructs staff where to place packages efficiently and effectively, allowing for further efficiency gains.
Photo credit: FedEx