DHL issues Innovation Challenge

German delivery and logistics giant DHL has launched a challenge for visionaries to come up with new ideas for sustainable logistics as well as robotics. The company is offering two challenges, with the first being in robotics and the other in sustainable logistics.

The challenges are open to anyone over 18, but can be from universities, students or companies as well as individuals. Applicants must submit a written document and video explaining their idea by the 28th of September.

The Robotics Challenge is to develop a prototype of a self-driving delivery cart that can accompany delivery staff during last mile delivery. This would be very like the Starship autonomous delivery vehicle that we frequently write about here.

Bill Meahl, Chief Commercial Officer at DHL explained the significance of this challenge: “Our colleagues have to deal with an ever-increasing number of parcels that need to be delivered. As our couriers are currently required to manually push this volume through the streets, we encourage concepts that support our employees.” These prototypes will need to be able to travel in normal urban and rural landscapes at walking pace while carrying parcels.

The next challenge is called the Fair and Responsible Challenge. Visionaries are to come up with a concept design that “creates sustainable logistics solutions for the world of tomorrow”. DHL made some suggestions as to what it is looking for: “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.”

There will be a pre-selection process, after which a panel of experts will select three finalists from each challenge. These will then have a chance to present their idea / prototype in front of 180 senior supply chain professionals at the DHL Innovation Day on the 17th of November. In each challenge, a winner will be awarded from a live voting process.

The winners of each vote will receive a cash prize from a pot of €20,000, and be able to display their idea at DHL Innovation Centres in Troisdorf in Germany and Singapore. DHL will also invite the winners to discuss opportunities to bring their ideas to a joint proof of concept.

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