According to market research expert Gartner, logistics are going to become one of the most important applications for commercial drones. The study’s prediction: this sector will generate some eleven billion dollars in revenue by 2020. The possibilities appear endless. The transport drones used by DHL , Amazon and UPS are on everyone’s minds. There is a startup working on an idea to deliver vaccines and blood units to remote regions using drones. And Fraunhofer Institute IML has 30 transport drones that can organize themselves into a swarm. What opportunities do drones hold for intralogistics?
Warehouse of the future
Application possibilities were presented at the 2017 Logistics Future Conference . Drones can achieve real miracles in warehouses, for example. Because they are so nimble and flexible, they can help optimize processes. They fly independently through the warehouse and register inventory using a barcode scanner. One advantage is that the floor remains free while the airspace between the high bays is used. Also, drones used indoors rather than outdoors are not required to be monitored by a pilot, which saves money.
Flying inventory helpers
A case in point: the inventory drone from " doks. innovation ", a Fraunhofer IML research project. Researchers there are working on an inventory solution called InvenTAIry that uses autonomous flying robot systems based on the Internet of Things. With their scanners and sensors, the flying robots are able to register their surroundings – thus gaining genuine cognitive abilities. A satellite navigation system determines their position. Using RFID chips and barcodes, the flying assistants can read information on objects and transmit it to a system that can use it, such as a warehouse management system. Processes can be streamlined and accelerated using this data. The second research project is DelivAIRy, whose purpose is to develop transport solutions .
Drone delivers parts to the production line
Automotive manufacturer Audi in Ingolstadt is currently evaluating a test series. Parts were delivered directly to the production line in the plants as part of this process. This is an advantage for urgent reorders, in particular. In this scenario, deliveries that are generally carried out using ground-based vehicles can take a little longer. To ensure safety in the halls, equipping the drones with automatic parachutes is being considered as a future option.
The future of logistics hinges on the last few meters
What can drones do for logistics and intralogistics? What flying objects are out there today, and what software is best to use? What opportunities arise at the interface between Logistics 4.0 and Industry 4.0? At CeMAT, the flagship international trade fair for intralogistics, you find new ideas and the chance to explore all the latest developments with experts.