At the terminal of Rotterdam World Gateway (RWG) loading and unloading is happening with automatic cranes. Robots of more than 125 meters high. The power behind an automated terminal is the artificial intelligence: the creation of devices which show human intelligence. Automation is possible with many things.

With shipping this is for example in unmanned and remote controlled ships. The engineering concern Rolls-Royce is trying to develop a cargoship which can sail unmanned and can be controlled from land: the so called drone-ships. This could be safer, cheaper and more efficient than a ship with crew. ‘Ports are the ideal exercise areas for robots. It is a controlled area with a lot of space’, although Markus Kueckelhaus, DHL. You have the benefit that you can create the circumstances yourself. This is very different than for example the self-propelled vehicles which need to use the existing road network.

Robots can be improved by working on a couple key abilities it needs to function:

robot developments

The times are changing. Between now and three years we will not go to a fully automated branch, but it will go with steps. ‘Robots will only assist people with their tasks first, but the next generation will not be able to imagine a world without robots, like we have at the moment with Smartphones’, although Markus Kueckelhaus (Vice President Innovation & Trend Research at DHL).