The future of fully automated electric vehicles is rapidly approaching. The logistics industry is constantly innovating, from the first inception of the GPS, to parcel tracking, and now it’s gearing towards fully automated electric trucks that will be a game changer for the logistics industry. UD aims to have these trucks fully operational by the year 2030. With the growing demand for parcel delivery being the catalyst, from the growth in the popularity of online shopping, parcel delivery set to explode even further.
This growth in online shopping has posed many challenges to the logistics industry, such as driver shortages to potential emission reductions. The Japanese company is fully committed to providing safe autonomous logistics services by the year 2030 and are already well on their way to achieving the goal.
The company is also focusing in on automated solutions for industrial plants, harbours, and the highway, with an emphasis on safety and emission reduction. The automation of logistics will have a major effect on the logistics industry. Some will argue that it will put a lot of people out of work and how can you truly trust a machine? The UD company believes it will revolutionise the industry by creating more productive, energy efficient and of course safer logistical solutions in the form of trucks, boats and other low speed plant machinery.
UD Trucks are making good use of batteries getting smaller and are able to go further distances on a single charge with their aim to provide automated logistical services with next to no emissions. They are in the midst of testing a series of prototypes containing the EV battery, the parallel HEV and series HEV of truck parts to find which one will be most effective for certain applications.
UD Trucks have around 45,000 trucks in circulation, all connected to a central hub and are constantly collecting data to refine their automated systems to create safer, more reliable logistics services.
They are set to reveal some of their latest automated electric trucks at the 2019 Tokyo Auto Show, to much anticipation. They have aptly named their Roadmap Innovation “Raijin Fujian” which refers to the Japanese gods of wind and thunder. Raijin being the wind god for motion and Fujian, the god of thunder symbolising power.
It’s an ambitious endeavour to say the least and I am sure it will come under a lot of public scrutiny. For starters, it will put many people in the logistics industry out of a current job. The logistics industry makes up a fair chunk of the blue collar workforce who are usually unskilled and finding other employment may prove difficult. They will have to be retrained and reskilled, with automation retraining in the works for many companies.
UD Trucks believes that once the public see a reduction in emissions and improvement in efficiency that the world will not be able to deny the technology as it will be seamlessly integrated into daily life, whether it’s parcel delivery or harbour logistics.
“When delivering on our promise to provide the trucks and services the world needs today, we have always done things a bit differently from others in our industry,” says UD Trucks chairperson Joachim Rosenberg (via NZ Trucking).
The first trucks are meant to be rolling out by 2020 and only time will tell if they can pull it off. The way the future of automation is going, chances are they do it successfully, however it’s almost a sure bet that they will be able to deliver the goods so to speak. Another factor that might play a major role is cost, but as the cost of automation decrease, we’re likely to see more and more uptake. As this story develops the future is keeps rolling on by, so you might just see an automated truck next while you’re driving down the highway.