UPS brings drone delivery to North Carolina hospital campus
On Tuesday, UPS began an unmanned drone delivery service to deliver blood samples across the WakeMed hospital campus in Raleigh, North Carolina. According to UPS, this represents “a major milestone for unmanned aviation in the US” and is the first time the US government has approved the use of drones for routine commercial flights under a contractual agreement.
The service is being conducted in cooperation with Matternet, a California-based autonomous drone start-up. The delivery program will also be closely monitored and overseen by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT). The drones in use are Matternet’s M2 quadcopters, which can carry payloads of up to around 5 pounds for up to 12.5 miles. A UPS spokesperson claimed that, based on a predetermined route, the drone can complete a delivery in approximately 3 minutes, whereas it takes at least 15 minutes for a courier to make a ground delivery, as the vehicles operate in a circuit. Furthermore, drone delivery opens up a hospital’s options as it can provide on-demand, same-day delivery.
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CCA launches data-pilot to combat food loss
The UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) reports that around one-third of all food harvested for human consumption is wasted. Though this mostly occurs between the retailer and end consumer phase, food waste is still prevalent in early stages of the supply chain such as stages in production and logistics. The Cold Chain Association (CAA) hopes to help combat the problem of food loss and wastage by launching a data-sharing pilot to track shipments from growers in Latin America to consignees in Europe.
Starting in April, the pilot will track shipments for perishable goods, such as avocados and berries, and participants will share all relevant handling data to identify temperature excursions and pinch points that result in wastage. The data collected during the pilot will be analyzed by Phillipe Schuler, an expert in food loss and wastage, who expects to publish the initial results in Mid-may before the CCA’s 2019 perishables event in the Netherlands. The aim is to find ways of improving the cold chain through collaboration. However, the pilot is set to run for three months in total, to ensure that a sufficient amount of data is collected for a more concrete analysis.
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More than 4 million robots in 50k warehouses by 2025
According to a report by ABI Research, it is predicted that there will be more than 4 million robots being used in over 50k warehouses worldwide by 2025.To put this increase into perspective, there were just under 4,000 robotic warehouses operating in 2018. Most of the growth is expected in Asia Pacific countries, in particular China, Japan and South Korea, says senior analyst at ABI research Nick Finill.
According to Finill, so far robots have primarily been used in warehouses for moving goods around facilities. “Automatic Guided Vehicles (AGVs), which follow rigid tracks or markers on the ground, and Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs), which navigate freely and autonomously using vision systems, are able to do this.” Experts believe that ecommerce growth will be a driving force behind the increase in adoption of robotic and automated systems. However, this is not only limited to the ecommerce sector, warehouses and logistics centers in a variety of sectors are increasingly turning to robots to help them cope with the industry’s worker shortage. Robots are becoming more and more affordable and available to smaller companies, due to options that include “Robots-as-a-Service” models, for example.
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