December 14, 2018
FedEx is testing the use of autonomous tugs to transport items within its sortation and distribution facilities in an effort to handle the growing volume of bulky ecommerce orders more efficiently.
A test is currently underway at a FedEx facility in Greensboro, NC, using autonomous tugs from Boston-based Vecna that can pull three or four carts loaded with items for shipping.
“One of the challenges we face is with so much variability in terms of package size and weight, a traditional robotic system is not always the ultimate solution,” said Ted Dengel, managing director of operations technology for FedEx Ground. “So, we’re trying to apply different (automation) components, including motion sensors and increasing computing power, that can apply to more bulk situations.”