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FedEx and Aurora expand autonomous commercial linehaul trucking pilot in Texas ahead of schedule

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FedEx and Aurora expand autonomous commercial linehaul trucking pilot in Texas ahead of schedule. Image: FedEx
FedEx and Aurora expand autonomous commercial linehaul trucking pilot in Texas ahead of schedule. Image: FedEx
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Aurora Innovation, Inc. and FedEx Corp. announced the expansion of their pilot program to autonomously move FedEx shipments on an additional commercial lane in Texas.

In March 2022, Aurora’s next-generation autonomous trucks – based on the new Peterbilt 579 – began to transport FedEx shipments between Aurora’s new terminals in Fort Worth and El Paso. Aurora is making the 600-mile trip on a weekly basis with safety drivers on board and expects to increase the frequency of trips in the coming months. Aurora continues to move shipments for FedEx between Aurora’s South Dallas terminal and its new Houston terminal on a daily basis.

Progress and momentum: FedEx and Aurora pilot snapshot

  • Since the commercial pilot began in September 2021, Aurora’s deliveries of FedEx shipments between Dallas and Houston have been 100% on time.
  • With each trip, the Aurora Driver (Aurora’s self-driving technology product) is providing thousands of FedEx customers with packages that were autonomously transported.
  • Aurora moves trailers for FedEx during various weather conditions and all hours of the day and night, optimizing fleet utilization.
  • Aurora completed daily hauls during the 2021 peak Holiday season, the busiest time of year for FedEx.
  • To date, the companies have completed 60,000 miles with zero safety incidents.

Aurora’s performance throughout this pilot demonstrates the value proposition autonomous trucking offers for transportation and logistics providers as Aurora works toward the commercial launch of its autonomous trucks. In light of the headwinds facing the logistics industry – ranging from increasing demand for the quick transportation of shipments to a challenging labor market – the Aurora Driver, when integrated into existing linehaul operations, has potential to provide a reliable, efficient linehaul solution to help address such industry concerns.

“Innovation is in our DNA – our culture drives us to think radically and differently, finding new ways to use technology to enhance safety, improve our operations, empower our team members and help our customers succeed,” said Rebecca Yeung, Corporate Vice President, Operations Science & Advanced Technology, FedEx Corporation. “Aurora has been a like-minded collaborator, helping us learn from and grow our autonomous trucking solutions. We look forward to our continued work together as we test further integration of autonomous technology into our operations to build a collaborative, robust network of solutions to respond to growing customer demand.”

“Some time ago, I was asked why the general public should care about autonomous trucking. This is why. In six months of working with FedEx, we’ve safely, reliably, and efficiently transported packages for tens of thousands of FedEx customers,” said Sterling Anderson, Aurora Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer. “This lane expansion came ahead of schedule and we’re delighted to continue building the future of trucking with one of the country’s biggest and most important transportation companies.”

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Logistics & Supply Chain

Geek+ partners with system integrators, Reesink Logistic Solutions

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Geek+ partners with system integrators, Reesink Logistic Solutions. Image: Geek+
Geek+ partners with system integrators, Reesink Logistic Solutions. Image: Geek+
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Geekplus, the global AMR leader, has announced the beginning of a new partnership with one of Europe’s top system integrators, Reesink Logistic Solutions. The two companies are entering a non-exclusive cooperation covering the entire Geekplus product range and targeting primarily Northern Europe, with a focus on the Netherlands, Germany, and Poland.

“The warehouse automation market is becoming increasingly competitive and dense. In order to stay ahead of future developments, the RLS-companies have always looked for state-of-the-art technologies, to add to the product portfolio. We strongly believe that the Geekplus systems speak for themselves and open a new world of possibilities in our market. We are therefore thrilled about this new partnership and look forward to adding the AMRs to our integrated solutions,” said Gert Bossink, Vice-President of Royal Reesink and Division Director of Reesink Logistic Solutions.

“Geekplus entered the European market in 2019 and has grown the business here at a fantastic pace, accelerating the development of the e-commerce phenomenon in the territory. We are now looking into building a strong and highly-professional network of partners and are glad to have Reesink Logistic Solutions among them, with a mature and stable footprint in Europe,” said Jackson Zhang, President of Geekplus Europe.

Geekplus was founded in 2015 and scaled up very fast and now has offices in seven countries around the world. The company is a leading global AMR producer, with six product lines that solve warehouse tasks like picking, moving, sorting, forklift, shuttle and collaborative robots. Geekplus is particularly strong in the field of goods-to-person picking, with thousands of its flagship P-800 robots in operation around the world. Building upon this expertise, Geekplus has recently developed PopPick, the pinnacle of goods-to-person AMR technology.

Reesink Logistic Solutions is the European warehouse automation division of Royal Reesink, a global group of companies headquartered in the Netherlands. With over 50 years of active presence in the market and over 850 automation projects delivered, RLS is currently one of the strongest system integrators in Europe, offering a wide range of solutions, from warehouse cranes, high bay warehouses, conveyors and shuttle systems, to connecting software integration, and new technologies like AMRs.

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Environment

Daimler Truck’s first successful liquid hydrogen refuelling of the truck 

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Daimler Truck's first successful liquid hydrogen refuelling of the truck. Image: Daimler AG
Daimler Truck's first successful liquid hydrogen refuelling of the truck. Image: Daimler AG
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Daimler Truck reaches its next milestone on the road to sustainable transportation also with hydrogen-based drives. Since last year, a Mercedes-Benz GenH2 Truck fuel-cell prototype has been undergoing intensive testing – both on the in-house test track and on public roads. Daimler Truck is now putting another prototype into operation to test the use of liquid hydrogen. Political support for the development program comes from Daniela Schmitt, Minister of Economic Affairs of Rhineland-Palatinate, who opened the regional hydrogen week “WOCHE DES WASSERSTOFFS SÜD” with a test drive in Wörth am Rhein, Germany.

A newly installed prototype filling station at the development and testing centre in Wörth enables the refuelling with liquid hydrogen. Recently, Daimler Truck celebrated the first successful liquid hydrogen refuelling of the truck together with Air Liquide. During the refuelling process, cryogenic liquid hydrogen at minus 253 degrees Celsius is filled into two 40 kg tanks mounted on either side of the chassis. Thanks to the particularly good insulation of the vehicle tanks, the hydrogen can be kept at temperature for a sufficiently long time without active cooling.

Daimler Truck prefers liquid hydrogen in the development of hydrogen-based drives. In this aggregate state the energy carrier has a significantly higher energy density in relation to volume compared to gaseous hydrogen. As a result, more hydrogen can be carried, which significantly increases the range and enables comparable performance of the vehicle with that of a conventional diesel truck. The development objective of the series-ready GenH2 Truck is a range of up to 1,000 kilometres and more. This makes the truck suitable for flexible and demanding applications, especially in the important segment of heavy-duty long-haul transport. The start of series production for hydrogen-based trucks is planned for the second half of the decade.

Comprehensive commitment to hydrogen

At the same time, Daimler Truck is working together with Linde on the development of a new process for handling liquid hydrogen. Among other things, this innovative approach enables even higher storage density and easier refuelling compared to LH2. The companies plan for the first refuelling of a prototype vehicle at a pilot station in Germany in 2023. Daimler Truck and its partners are planning for a high level of transparency and openness around the relevant interfaces of the jointly developed sLH2 technology. The goal is to collaborate with other companies and associations as possible to develop their own refuelling and vehicle technologies that apply the new liquid-hydrogen standard and thereby establish a global mass market for the new process.

When it comes to infrastructure for hydrogen filling stations along important transport routes in Europe, Daimler Truck is planning to work together with the companies Shell, BP and TotalEnergies. Daimler Truck is also a shareholder in hydrogen filling station operator H2 MOBILITY Deutschland. In addition, Daimler Truck, IVECO, Linde, OMV, Shell, TotalEnergies and the Volvo Group have committed to work together to help create the conditions for the mass-market roll-out of hydrogen trucks in Europe as part of the H2Accelerate interest group.

On its path towards a CO2-neutral future Daimler Truck has clearly set its strategic course and is consistently pursuing a dual-track strategy in the electrification of its portfolio with both battery-electric and hydrogen-based drives. The ambition is to offer only new vehicles that are carbon-neutral in driving operation in its global core markets by 2039.

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Logistics & Supply Chain

CEVA Logistics opens new warehouse facility in Philippines

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CEVA Logistics opens new warehouse facility in Philippines. Image: CEVA Logistics
CEVA Logistics opens new warehouse facility in Philippines. Image: CEVA Logistics
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CEVA Logistics opened a new facility in the Ruhale area of Taguig, Philippines, offering its customers a new warehouse with advanced technology and environmental best practices. The new 14,000-square-meter facility allows CEVA to better serve existing customers, keeping pace with current demand while also remaining flexible for future capacity needs in the rapidly growing Asia Pacific region.

Designed to meet a wide range of warehousing, logistics needs

The Ruhale warehouse boasts a full suite of warehousing and logistics services for customers across a range of industries, including electronics and food and beverage. The facility features ambient, temperature-controlled and dangerous goods storage, 13 loading bays, floor staging and an optimized shelving configuration that can accommodate up to 16,000 pallet positions.

Currently employing approximately 50 people, the warehouse offers customers a full range of warehousing, distribution and value-added services, including picking and packing, labelling, bundling, re-work, tax stamping and digital bottle printing. The CEVA team can also manage return and reverse logistics and integrated B2B and B2C omni-channel operations.

The site was chosen based on its proximity to Manila’s city center, as well as for its easy access to major transportation hubs, including Manila’s international and domestic airports and seaports, and to major highways for ground transport options.

Meeting the needs of today with an eye on the future

In addition to meeting anticipated regional capacity needs, the Ruhale warehouse was also built with an eye on the future in terms of adopting warehouse innovations. Employing state-of-art technology to improve both employee health and safety and risk management, the warehouse also incorporates best practices in waste management and energy conservation to improve the facility’s carbon footprint and environmental impact. To optimize productivity, digital lean dashboards have also been implemented. Planned future enhancements include the use of wearable device scanners, drones for stock-taking and cleaning robots for facility maintenance.

Elaine Low, managing director of Southeast Asia and Pacific, CEVA Logistics, said, “I am very proud of the team’s expansion in the Philippines, and I am confident this strategic investment in one of Southeast Asia’s more vibrant markets will be the start of many more successful ventures as we continue to support customers’ supply chains with responsive logistics solutions.”

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