The Friday Report: June 3rd, 2022Quick wrap up of a few hot topic newsworthy stories in the supply chain logistics industry
Walmart Teams with DroneUp to Expand Drone Delivery to 6 States
Automation is innovating last-mile delivery. DroneUp and Walmart have formed a partnership to expand drone deliveries to 4 million homes across six states. As e-commerce and the direct-to-consumer model continues to exacerbate the increased need for shipping, Walmart will offer 10,000 products in its new drone-delivery service. Purchases will be packaged at Walmart stores and flown remotely to customers’ front yards or driveways.
Walmart’s partnership with DroneUp sets the company ahead of its US competitors Amazon and Alphabet. The two rivals are ahead of Walmart in overseas drone delivery with services available in the UK and Australia.
States that will receive drone deliveries:
Walmart says that their drones will be able to deliver products up to 10 pounds and will cost $3.99 per delivery.
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Amazon Announced $1 Billion Investment into Technology
Amazon has announced a $1 billion investment to support companies that develop logistics, supply chain management, safety technology and software. According to Bloomberg, the company hopes the subsequent advances can add to its business.
The Amazon Industrial Innovation Fund is available to a variety of companies that will be able to collaborate with Amazon or work solely on their own and is focused on technology that improves the employee experience. Amazon has stated that it will back companies in a variety of phases that are developing technology to:
- Increase e-commerce delivery speeds
- Improve warehouse and logistics worker experience
Amazon hopes the technologies created through the fund will improve accessibility and save time for consumers. The company asserts that its track-record of purchasing shares of companies including partners will allow them to delve into the latest technological advancements and assist the start-ups in profit growth. No specific information has been provided regarding how many companies they plan to invest in or for how long the fund will be available.
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500K U.S. Jobs May be Eliminated by Robot Truckers
Engineers who specialize in vehicles operated with automation, such as self-driving trucks, are fervent in their efforts to improve long-haul freight. These “robot truckers” would be used to drive the longest distance along interstates, taking the drive out of the hands of humans.
At this point, level-5 self-driving trucks remain decades from use. Level 5 automation refers to a fully automated vehicle. The truck would be completely capable of performing all driving functions during any conditions. Currently, there are no public examples of Level 4 (high automation, requires human assistance) or Level 5 vehicles.
According to a University of Michigan study, the self-driving vehicles would take over roughly 90% of human long-haul driving. This amount of work is equivalent to nearly 500,000 jobs.
The average salary for a long-haul truck driver is approximately $47,000. With the long-haul trucking workforce currently 61,000 drivers understaffed, lobbyists have tried to pass measures to lower the minimum driving age for interstate drivers from 21 to 18. In response to the perceived safety issues that this may cause, companies and truckers are welcoming self-driving vehicles.
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