Updated: Dec 7, 2021
Ford Motor Company and DP World London Gateway have conducted a trial with a simulated autonomous vehicle to demonstrate how useful, such future technology could be to those managing – and employed on – large worksites.
The initiative is part of Ford's Self-Driving Research Programme, designed to help businesses understand how autonomous vehicles could benefit their operations. 1 First launched in June to explore the potential impact upon courier services and doorstep deliveries two. The DP World trial tested how recipients managed when accessing self-driving delivery vehicles themselves. The underlying intention behind the pilot programme is to identify new opportunities and models for autonomous vehicle operations – in particular, understanding how existing processes and human interactions can work alongside automated vehicles.
"It was incredible to see how enthusiastically the team at DP World embraced working with the support of a self-driving vehicle. We are continuing to work very closely with our customers to learn how these vehicles can benefit their businesses, and it is exciting to see first-hand the impact this can have across a diverse range of locations," said Richard Balch, director of Autonomous Vehicles and Mobility, Ford of Europe. "What worked so well at DP World premises could equally be of benefit at universities, airports and manufacturing facilities."
Ford has been testing self-driving technology in major cities across the US in partnership with Argo AI. The company plans to invest around $7 billion (€6.02 billion) in autonomous vehicles for ten years through to 2025 – $5 billion (€4.3 billion) of that from 2021 forward – as part of its mobility initiatives.
Embracing the Future
DP World London Gateway – one of the UK's fastest-growing ports – is located 40 km east of central London and already embraces automated technology as an intrinsic part of its operations as a deep-sea container port.
For the trial, Ford used a specially adapted Transit fitted out to mimic the look of an actual self-driving vehicle with a driver concealed within a "Human Car Seat". Employees at the company's reception building loaded packages into secure lockers in the rear of the Transit. Then, at set delivery times, the Transit travelled to the main reception 3.5 km away so that colleagues there could retrieve them. In the usual way, staff currently retrieve packages from reception themselves. While time-consuming, these trips do not warrant a full-time driver.
Researchers monitored every step of the process and conducted interviews with those who took part before, during, and after the trial. They found that employees quickly became comfortable with using the specially equipped van. Some proactively trained colleagues to access their packages, while others were resourceful in overcoming difficulties intentionally introduced by the researchers: such as the wrong parcels being stowed in the wrong lockers.
"Having what appeared to be a self-driving vehicle on-site created a real buzz, and everyone wanted to use it. Popping in the car to pick up a package from elsewhere on site might not seem like it takes that long, but across multiple journeys over weeks, months and years, this can add up to a lot of time and money," said Ernst Schulze, UK chief executive of DP World.
Along with the Port of Tilbury and Ford Dagenham, DP World London Gateway will form Thames Freeport. The UK Government awarded the partners' freeport status earlier this year. The partners are progressing the business case, with Freeport Tax Site status being awarded on Nov. 19, on their journey to receiving formal accreditation.
More Great Dubai Route Stories
AD Ports Group’s Mugharraq Port Recognised as an International Port Facility
Students and Faculty From Master of Urban Planning Program at AUS Visit Sharjah Sustainable City
Dominica Signs Historic Visa Waiver Agreement with China
Prime Minister Harris Connects With Dubai Business Community
UAE-Born Scientist Show How Satellites Can Monitor Spread of Viruses by Animals
A Craftsman Built a Chainless Bicycle Prototype
Stay Ahead of the Curve
Unlock the GCC's Leading Source of Business and Analysis
Dubairoute.com provides innovative marketing and advertising solutions to support an advertiser's specific campaign objectives. Customised programs leverage the best of Dubairoute.com. Contact our sales team today and see what our team can do for your custom advertising solutions. Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to our sales team. You can also get in touch in the following ways:
Global Business, Financial News, Market Data, and Analysis published here are delayed 24 hours. All the published information, analyses, and conclusions are based (unless sourced otherwise) on external information and Dubai Route Group's experts' judgment. They are intended as guides only and should not be construed as definitive forecasts or guarantees of future performance or results. No responsibility or liability is accepted by any person, including Dubai Route Group or its affiliates and their respective officers, employees, or agents, for any errors or omissions.