In recent years, with the accumulation of Chinese household wealth per capita, the continuous expansion of e-commerce channels, and rapid growth of new retail businesses, the need for supply chain infrastructure has led to increasing demands on warehousing and distribution in China. As the world’s largest e-commerce market, China is expected to see its online annual sales account for more than 60% of the global market by 2020. This booming industry has optimized the supply system of a large number of manufacturers and retailers. For example, Jingdong has created a series of robotic technologies including unmanned ground vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles and unmanned warehouses to build out its intelligent logistics system. Vigorously increasing consumer delivery convenience expectations are the major driver increasing the demand for high quality logistics.
“The Best CP” of logistics staff & logistics robots emerge to deliver “the last kilometer”
Figure A robot performing a delivery task
Recently, the author saw several logistics robots operating in a park in Jiading District, Shanghai. It is reported that these robots were jointly created by well-known domestic elevator control system manufacturers and e-commerce companies to solve the problem of “the last kilometer” of logistics distribution by using smart delivery robots to deliver orders directly to customer doors in outdoor environments.
In addition, these end-logistic robots are equipped with elevator-communication programming, which means they can communicate directly with certain elevators. Through wireless signaling transmission, the elevator could know which floor the logistic robot needs to go. With abilities of, “identification, transportation, and language,” logistics robots will form “the best CP” together with logistics staff to raise the overall operating efficiency through functional coordination and faster logistics services.
With logistics robot mass production in sight, technology will become the main driver in future logistics services
The current batch of end-logistics robots are using SIMCom modules and realizing basic positioning and data transmission functions through GSM/GPRS. It is known that with the gradual weakening of GSM networks and the layout of global business by manufacturers, that eMTC network technology is planned to be used in robots in the future. In this case, the SIM7000C module made by SIMCom will be widely adopted. Compatible with three network types including eMTC, NB-loT, and GSM, this module supports various network bands and will meet the demands of designs and applications for most logistics robots through their compact appearance, low power consumption, and high uplink and downlink data traffic flow capabilities (with a peak value of 375kbps).
As an important part of intelligent logistics, the growth of logistics and warehousing robots undoubtedly verifies the developing demands of the industry in technology and scenario levels. The mass production of logistics robots will help improve the logistics experiences of clients and solve the problem of “the last kilometer.” What’s more, they will help reduce the cost of robot production and realize large-scale adoption.
It is reported that 53% of workers in China’s warehouses and logistics centers hope to redesign existing warehouses and logistics services to integrate more efficiently with e-commerce operations. Nowadays, courier service companies mainly relieve their cost pressure and solve the issue of low efficiency through outsourcing.
Figure (3) Staff structure and courier structure of SF, a listed company.
With the extensive adoption of a series of robots such as unmanned ground vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles, intelligent logistics systems have become a term representing the current times. The emergence of end-delivery robots will greatly assist companies to achieve higher efficiency, help provide opportunities for more fulfilling tasks for human employees to carry out, promote better integration of each link of the intelligent-logistics chain, bring qualitative improvements to the user experience, and create greater value overall to the entire logistics chain.