Highlights of the AWARD Final Conference

Wednesday, June 19th, 2024

On 13 June, the AWARD Final Conference served as a platform for in-depth discussions and knowledge exchange on automation in logistics. Held at Comet Meetings – Louise, Brussels, the event brought together a diverse group of professionals, researchers and policy makers from the automation and logistics sector.

Key takeaways

  • Progress in automation integration: The conference highlighted significant advances in the integration of automated road transport into logistics nodes and multimodal operations. Sessions discussed the potential of automation to increase efficiency and solve existing logistics challenges, such as supply chain bottlenecks and multimodal integration.
  • Challenges in business adoption: A key focus was on the challenges of business adoption of new technologies. Discussions highlighted the need for more comprehensive strategies that address both technological capabilities and business adoption barriers in order to fully leverage the benefits of automation in logistics.
  • Economic and safety concerns: Economic viability and safety remain critical concerns in the deployment of automated logistics solutions. The event emphasised the need to develop cost-effective sensor systems and robust technologies, and to ensure that automated vehicles meet or exceed safety standards compared to human-operated systems.
  • Regulatory and research needs: The need for supportive regulatory frameworks and continued research was a recurring theme. Participants called for more aligned and flexible regulations that can adapt to technological advances and help create an environment conducive to innovation and practical implementation.
  • Importance of collaboration: The event showcased the importance of collaboration between different stakeholders in the logistics and automation sectors. It was clear that interdisciplinary and multi-stakeholder efforts are critical for advancing technology and resolving integration challenges.
  • Future directions in automation: The conference also outlined the future directions for research and deployment in logistics automation. These include the scalability of automation technologies, the replication of successful use cases, and the integration of these technologies into existing logistics infrastructure.
  • Impact on capacity and efficiency: Automation was discussed as a critical solution to capacity and efficiency issues in the logistics sector, particularly in the context of growing demand and the global need for resilient supply chains.

ALICE participation at the event

Giuseppe Luppino, ALICE Programme Manager, moderated the session entitled “Road Automation Integration in Logistics Nodes and Multimodal Operations”. The speakers provided in-depth insights into the integration of automation into logistics. Discussions focused on the latest advances and challenges, highlighting the critical role of automation in improving efficiency and addressing the pressing issues of supply chain management.

The MODI, MultiRELOAD, FOREMAST, and AUTOSUP projects, in which ALICE is a partner, demonstrated their contributions through engaging panel discussions and/or interactive exhibition stands. These projects illustrate the practical applications of automation in different logistics environments, from ports to airports, and highlight the importance of strategic alliances and intermodal integration.

Fernando Liesa’s closing remarks resonated deeply with attendees, emphasising the need to focus not only on technological advances as enablers but also on the underlying challenges and barriers to business adoption. He highlighted the importance of automation in logistics to address critical issues such as driver shortages and capacity constraints.

As we move forward, ALICE is committed to building upon the knowledge and insights gained from AWARD and other associated projects. The Connected, Cooperative and Automated Logistics (CCAL) activity by ALICE aims to accelerate the adoption of automated logistics operations. This initiative aims to bring together different building blocks into a coherent ecosystem, increasing the potential for market readiness and adoption. Would your company or organisation willing to join this activity, please contact us at info@etp-alice.eu

The AWARD project’s emphasis on creating a comprehensive understanding of the impact of automation on logistics was evident throughout the conference. It became clear that while technology provides the tools, the adoption and integration into existing systems pose a significant challenge that requires more attention in research and innovation programmes.

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