The Supply Chain Management Blog covers the latest in SCM strategy, technology, and innovation.

Robots are Taking Over the Roads (and Everywhere Else)

Terri Hiskey
Director, Product Marketing

I attended the Gartner Supply Chain Conference in London a couple of weeks ago, and one of the topics that was discussed was the rise of robotics, especially in manufacturing and logistics. In April, a convoy of semi-automated smart trucks completed their first European cross-border trip, journeying from Sweden and southern Germany and ending in Rotterdam. This convoy consisted of a dozen self-driving trucks made by six of Europe’s largest manufacturers including DAF, Daimler, Iveco, MAN, Scania and Volvo. The U.S. is not far behind and is expected to put their own convoy of driverless trucks out within the year.  

As technology companies develop driverless cars, the freight industry is working on the same for trucks and trains. Shifting to driverless freight could resolve the long-standing problems of truck driver shortages in the US, significantly cutting costs for freight companies. This technology could also be more fuel-efficient than human drivers and safer in terms of accidents. The implications of these changes are incredible—an LA Times article states that “robots could replace 1.7 million truckers in the next decade.”

Do you have a strategy in place for leveraging these new, modern technologies as they become more mainstream? We’d love to hear your stories!

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