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Japan Is Figuring Out How to Deliver Goods Untouched by Humans

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A demonstration of Mujin Inc.s robot.

Getting products from one place to another with as little human contact as possible is becoming an imperative for Japanese businesses as retailers, warehouses, and transport providers adapt to the coronavirus pandemic.

Credit: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

Japanese companies are developing next-generation logistics technology to deliver goods without human touch, driven by worker shortages and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Manufacturer Tsubakimoto Chain's sorting and conveyor systems are growing increasingly popular as companies seek ways to move things around, while startup Hacobu aims to increase use of its online platform for trucks to share information as they load and unload goods at warehouses.

Tsubakimoto's Masafumi Okamoto expects demand for humanless systems to continue growing.

Meanwhile, companies in Japan and other Asian countries have expressed interest in U.S. startup Above Robotics' cloud-based software, which stitches together various autonomous logistics and transportation systems.

Japan's government views automated logistics as important for global competitiveness, with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism urging greater use of data and artificial intelligence in managing truck fleets, autonomous vehicles, and drones.

From Bloomberg
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Abstracts Copyright © 2020 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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