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Volocopter and DB Schenker created a blueprint for electric cargo drone

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Volocopter and DB Schenker announce first blueprint for VoloDrone operations. Image: DB Schenker
Volocopter and DB Schenker announce first blueprint for VoloDrone operations. Image: DB Schenker
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Today, the pioneer of urban air mobility (UAM), Volocopter, and international logistics leader, DB Schenker, announced that they have successfully conducted a joint static proof of concept (PoC) at Messe Stuttgart for VoloDrone ground operations in logistic centers. Together, the partners are creating the first blueprint for electric cargo drone ground operations in logistics with the support of Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics.

The static PoC tested how logistics operators can manage personnel, payloads, automated ground vehicles, and VoloDrones to create an efficient process and a safe environment for future VoloDrone operations. The blueprint derived from these results will be the first of its kind and serve as a basis for integrating VoloDrone operations in logistics networks across the globe, realizing automation and sustainability ambitions in supply chains.

Christian Bauer, CCO of Volocopter: “By developing a blueprint for VoloDrone operations, Volocopter is leading the way into the next dimension of transport logistics with tangible and operational data backing our service claims. Our work with DB Schenker shows that they are a great investor, a valuable partner, and an enabler for our commercial VoloDrone operations.”

The research teams from Volocopter, DB Schenker, and Fraunhofer IML simulated the VoloDrone integration in a logistics network by examining the ground processes for coding goods, assessing safe cargo loads and goods, testing the automated supply of the drone through autonomous vehicles, and identifying other necessary pre-flight cargo checks. Following this, the processes for transporting and loading the VoloDrone payload were conducted and examined to identify safe, standard procedures for employees on the ground preparing the VoloDrone for flight.

Erik Wirsing, Global Head of Innovation at DB Schenker: “The VoloDrone unlocks new possibilities for the logistics industry, and it represents a key element for DB Schenker’s innovation and sustainability roadmap for logistics. Volocopter’s leadership in this emerging urban air mobility industry is most evident in their practical solutions, their customer-centric approach, and their commitment to bring UAM to life.”

Since the beginning of their collaboration in mid-2019, Volocopter and DB Schenker have been developing the VoloDrone for commercial launch and assessing use cases for business-to-business drone services in logistics. The VoloDrone, Volocopter’s heavy-lift and versatile cargo drone, is battery powered, can transport a 200 kg payload up to 40 km, and has 18 rotors and motors powering the electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. This UAM solution for intracity logistics will operate within Volocopter’s UAM ecosystem for cities, also consisting of passenger mobility services (VoloCity and VoloConnect), their infrastructure (VoloPort), and a digital backbone to coordinate and view all operations in real time (VoloIQ). The automated mobile robots for this PoC were provided by DB Schenker’s partner, Gideon Brothers, a pioneer for autonomous mobile robotics.

Once it is finalized, the blueprint will be available for project partners under a non-disclosure agreement.

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Kuehne+Nagel launches electric vehicle service in India

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Kuehne+Nagel launches electric vehicle service in India. Image: Kuehne+Nagel
Kuehne+Nagel launches electric vehicle service in India. Image: Kuehne+Nagel
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Kuehne+Nagel, the global logistics company, announced the launch of the electric vehicle service for airport transfers in Mumbai, India. With this service, Kuehne+Nagel aims to switch to electric vehicles in a phased manner to reduce its carbon footprint and progress towards a sustainable future and Greener India.

The Indian-made electric vehicle “Mahindra Treo Zor” will shuttle air cargo between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport and Kuehne+Nagel’s Mumbai Airport warehouse. The use of the EVs is expected to result in a reduction of 24.7 tonnes vehicular CO2 emissions each year, thus reducing the company’s overall carbon footprint.

Marcel Fujike, SVP, Global Head Products & Services Air Logistics at Kuehne+Nagel, says: “As an environmentally and socially responsible organisation, Kuehne+Nagel is proud to use EVs in India for its airport transfers to offer green logistics solutions and reduce carbon emissions. Our customers have benefited from the global availability of SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel) since last year, and we continue to develop sustainable solutions for a fully carbon neutral transport journey. The introduction of EV airport transfer is the next phase in our transition to low-carbon, door-to-door air transportation, with more sustainable services to follow.”

“Today the transportation of goods is a major contributor to carbon emissions. Fully electric vehicles have zero tailpipe emissions, but even when electricity production is taken into account, petrol or diesel vehicles emit almost three times more carbon dioxide than the average EV. Using EVs will not only reduce carbon footprint but will also offer substantial operating cost savings over comparable, conventional, gasoline-fueled vehicles, allowing us to contribute significantly to the sustainability cause”, adds Coen Van Der Maarel, Managing Director – India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, Kuehne+Nagel.

Kuehne+Nagel’s initiative of introducing electric vehicles in India is aligned with the company’s global sustainability goals. The company is taking several initiatives globally to create a sustainable future and reduce its environmental footprint.

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Descartes releases June report on global shipping crisis

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Descartes releases June report on global shipping crisis. Image: Pixabay
Descartes releases June report on global shipping crisis. Image: Pixabay
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Descartes Systems Group, the global leader in uniting logistics-intensive businesses in commerce, released its June report on the ongoing global shipping crisis and analysis for logistics and supply chain professionals. The report shows that May container shipments into the U.S. hit a new all-time high making the task of managing supply chain risk more complicated to navigate.

Fueled by continued strong consumer spending, May container import volumes surpassed 2.62M twenty-foot equivalent units, which not only continues the record monthly trend for the year but also eclipses the 2.6M TEU level for the first time. Container imports for the month crept up 7% over April and, in contrast to previous years, were up 3% over May 2021 and 26% over pre-pandemic May 2019.

“May saw imports from China up 5.4% compared to April, as COVID lockdowns began to ease in major manufacturing hubs, especially Shanghai. Compared to May 2021, however, overall imports from China were down 2.1%, highlighting the potential volume still to come in the months ahead,” said Chris Jones, EVP Industry & Services at Descartes. “Even as wait times at top U.S. ports continued to decline in May, the new overall high for import volumes, increasing production levels in China and the approach of peak season indicate there’s the potential for high activity in ocean trade in the second half of the year.”

The June report is Descartes’ 11th installment since beginning its analysis in August 2021.

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Hellmann takes over Czech and Slovakia based OptimNet Solutions

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Hellmann takes over Czech and Slovakia based OptimNet Solutions. Image: Hellmann
Hellmann takes over Czech and Slovakia based OptimNet Solutions. Image: Hellmann
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The global full-service provider Hellmann Worldwide Logistics is taking over the Czech and Slovakian-based overnight express provider “OptimNet Solutions s.r.o.”. Hellmann is thus continuing its successful expansion strategy in the overnight express services segment and tapping into another important part of the Central and Eastern European market.

The shareholder Ondřej Zíta remains Managing Director and will seamlessly carry on the operational business together with Wilfried Hesselmann, Head of CEP Europe, Hellmann Worldwide Logistics to continue business relationships with all customers as usual.

OptimNet, the overnight express specialist founded in 2016 in Prague, has developed very successfully in recent years, both in the Czech Republic and, since 2018, in Slovakia. Hellmann has already tapped into the Hungarian and Romanian markets with the acquisition of Innight last year. With the latest takeover of OptimNet, Hellmann will further expand its overnight express services, particularly for the agricultural and automotive sectors, and will thus meet the steadily growing demand for a smooth and fast supply of spare parts in this strategically important core customer segment.

“With the expansion of our overnight express service in Eastern Europe, we are taking another consistent step in our growth strategy, which we initiated at the beginning of last year and have successfully developed in the meantime,” says Jörg Herwig, Chief Operating Officer Road & Rail Hellmann Worldwide Logistics.

“I am pleased that we are taking on all 37 OptimNet employees. On the one hand, this will secure jobs, and, on the other hand, we will be able to smoothly build on the business relationships that have already been successfully established in the Czech Republic and Slovakia in recent years, to continue growing here and beyond Eastern Europe,” adds Wilfried Hesselmann, Head of CEP Europe, Hellmann Worldwide Logistics.

“As a new member of the Hellmann F.A.M.I.L.Y, I look forward to working with our new colleagues to further develop the Eastern European market and drive expansion into new industries,“ says Ondřej Zíta, Managing Director CEP CZ/SVK, Hellmann Worldwide Logistics.

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