by Jane Lanhee Lee
MOUNTAIN VIEW, United States (Reuters) – French logistics company Geodis and California-based startup Phantom Auto Inc on Wednesday announced a partnership for the development of remote-controlled forklifts, an initiative that could make forklift driving a office work.
With this technology, a remote driver can operate multiple forklifts located in different warehouses, at different times of the day, all from a central location.
“So I can be in a warehouse in Marseille in the morning and work for another warehouse in Calais in the north of France in the afternoon,” said Stéphanie Hervé, logistics director general for Geodis for the Europe region of France. West, Middle East and Africa.
According to Stéphanie Hervé, technology could ultimately facilitate the recruitment of employees for warehouse work and allow people with disabilities to access a new type of job.
“With this solution, we are creating a new working environment that could possibly be more attractive to young talent, digital natives,” she said.
During a demonstration for Reuters at a warehouse in Mountain View, Calif., Phantom Auto had pallets moved by a forklift. The driver was sitting at a desk ten feet away, one hand on the wheel, the other magnifying a joystick. Throughout the operation, he watched a monitor with six sub-screens, each connected to a camera positioned on the forklift.
“To show the robustness of our technology, we have had customers who have driven the forklifts 5,000 miles away. [8.046 km]Phantom Auto co-founder Elliot Katz said. “We have had customers operating remotely in Asia, a forklift located here in California.”
The forklifts used in Geodis warehouses are manufactured by Fenwick-Linde, a subsidiary of the German multinational Kion Group AG.
(Nathan Frandino, French version Lucinda Langlands-Perry, edited by Blandine Hénault)
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