DHL challenges smart minds to develop innovative robotics and green solutions

Visionaries invited to submit ideas for self-driving delivery carts or sustainable logistics concepts.

DHL has launched two innovation challenges and invites inventors and visionaries across the globe to participate.

Participants are asked to generate new ideas in the areas of sustainable logistics or robotics. Universities, students, companies and any other person who is at least 18 years of age may join the competition and are asked to submit a written document and video explaining their idea by September 28, 2016.

The Fair and Responsible Challenge requires visionaries to come up with a concept design creating sustainable logistics solutions for the world of tomorrow. Original ideas and practical solutions that address and solve environmental and social challenges with new and innovative logistics-based business models are sought. Concepts could be connected to using logistics to facilitate the circular economy or using global transportation networks to provide fair trade and production. The idea can be anything from a new product, a service solution to a packaging concept, as long as it generates value for the society, environment and businesses.

“We are convinced that doing well comes from doing good,” said Bill Meahl, chief commercial officer, DHL. “The challenge is to give fairness and responsibility a business-oriented approach. Our concept is that companies should focus on creating shared value, turning social and environmental challenges into sustainable, fair and potentially profitable business models. The Fair and Responsible Challenge aims to find new and innovative ideas to advance this vision.”

The second challenge is the Robotics Challenge. The aim is to develop a prototype of a self-driving delivery cart that can autonomously accompany staff during last mile delivery. The submitted prototypes need to be able to traverse typical urban and rural landscapes at walking-speed while at the same time carrying parcels. “Our colleagues have to deal with an ever-increasing number of parcels that need to be delivered,” Meahl continued. “As our couriers are currently required to manually push this volume through the streets, we encourage concepts that support our employees.”

After submission, entries will be reviewed in a pre-selection process based on their functionality, potential to solve the given problem and its perceived commercial feasibility. Following pre-selection, a panel of logistics experts will select three finalists of each challenge, who then have the chance to present their idea or prototype in front of 180 senior supply chain professionals at the DHL Innovation Day on November 17. For each challenge a winner is awarded during a live-voting process. The highest numbers of votes are awarded as winners of the DHL Innovation Challenge, and will receive a monetary prize out of a pool of combined €20,000, and display their idea at the DHL innovation Centers in Troisdorf/Germany and Singapore. In addition, DHL will invite the winners to discuss opportunities to materialize their ideas into a joint proof of concept.

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