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Logistics IT

Using the benefits of swarm intelligence for logistics

DHL is calling for ideas for a mobile picking robot and sharing-economy models. Creative souls have until September 2017 to submit their suggestions at www.dhlinnovationchallenge.com - and be in with a chance of winning 20,000 euros.

10 Apr. 2017
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From students and start-up companies to visionaries and luminaries, DHL is inviting one and all to send in their ingenious ideas for a mobile picking robot and suggestions for how to develop a logistics business model based around the principles of the sharing economy. The winners of the second DHL innovation challenge will work with DHL to conduct feasibility studies and will showcase their concepts in the DHL Innovation Centers.

To enter the competition, applicants need to explain their ideas for these two huge logistics challenges in a concept paper and video. All entries will then be assessed by senior DHL executives in terms of functionality, aesthetics, cost-effectiveness and their potential to actually resolve the issues at hand. After this initial round, three finalists for each of the two categories will get the opportunity to present their ideas to 180 experienced supply chain and trend experts at the DHL Innovation Day, which is being held on 16 November 2017 in Troisdorf, near Bonn in Germany. The winners will then be picked in a live vote.

Entrants in the robotics category for this year’s DHL challenge are tasked with designing a mobile picking robot that can navigate typical high-bay warehouses and independently pick goods from a rack, place them in a trolley and transport them to a packaging area. "We believe robotic solutions will have become the norm in less than five years' time," says Matthias Heutger, Senior Vice President Strategy, Marketing & Innovation, DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation, adding: "At DHL, we support everything that genuinely makes day-to-day working life easier for our staff." The task in the sharing-economy category of the challenge is to come up with ingenious ideas that challenge the accepted concepts of property and accessibility. Markus Kückelhaus, Vice President Innovation & Trend Research, DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation, describes the ultimate goal: "We want to establish collective value creation and shape logistics assets for customers and companies on a sustainable and fair basis that promises to be profitable."

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