Welcome to this week’s look at the latest news in supply chain and logistics. There are more exciting things happening in the world of automation and AI, as well as new technology that could improve road surfaces of the future. Here are the articles that caught our attention this week.
Could the answer to the 3rd runway at Heathrow be AI?
The control tower at Heathrow is currently hosting a trial of the latest artificial intelligence which could provide a solution to the problem of Heathrow’s 3rd runway. The project, funded by NATS, the air traffic control company, will aid the airport’s ability to land aircraft during periods of bad weather when visibility is low. Machine learning and AI will be combined with ultra HD 4k cameras to provide air traffic controllers with essential landing information when conditions are bad. Although Heathrow’s control tower is the tallest in the UK at 87 metres, this can create difficulties at times of low cloud. AI can help provide the additional information to make it possible for a 3rd runway at Heathrow to operate safely.
Technology to improve road conditions of the future
Chris Grayling, Transport Secretary, has this week announced £22.9 million of funding in technology which could help prevent damage to road surfaces in the future. Local authorities in 8 areas of the UK will receive funding to enable testing in real life scenarios of new road surfacing technology. The projects, to be delivered by local councils, will be known as Live Labs and will operate in 8 areas initially, including Birmingham, Kent, Staffordshire and Suffolk. It could be rolled out across other authorities if the current projects are successful. The new projects will include the use of geothermal energy to prevent authority-run car parks from freezing, as well as the use of plastic in road surfacing and the use of kinetic energy.
Burger King, KFC and McDonalds are pressed to reduce emissions by investors
Investors are urging global companies to cut emissions in their supply chains this week. The dairy and meat production industries are some of the sectors with the most emissions and with no plan to bring them down. Burger King, KFC and McDonald’s are being pressed to establish targets for their dairy and meat suppliers by 80+ investors. This follows concern by investors that these suppliers are failing to address the environmental impact of their businesses and have neglected to set targets to cut emissions. Fast food companies have been criticised in a letter written by Ceres, the sustainability organisation, and FAIRR, the Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return, for growing their businesses without taking account of the impact they are having on the environment.
Automated factory opened by Siemens
Siemens has announced this week that its new factory in Trondheim, Norway, will be entirely automated. The factory will produce battery modules, with the aim of assembling 55 per shift, using a digital, robotic production line. The production line will feature 8 robot stations providing dependable battery solutions to the offshore and marine sectors. The stations have a 300 MWh capacity per year and are part of Siemens’ plans to expand significantly in battery production in the future, particularly in the area of maritime battery solutions.
New Electric Vehicle Tariff from Scottish Power
Energy supplier, Scottish Power says it can provide energy at a lower cost than petrol, with its new tariff for renewable power. It is the latest energy supplier to introduce an EV tariff for drivers that it says will reduce the cost of keeping an electric vehicle on the road. Scottish Power says drivers of electric vehicles will be able to make the most of discounted off-peak charging thanks to the new tariff. The new tariff, known as Smart Power Green EV Jan 2021, will allow drivers to access power at a discounted rate during the hours from midnight to 5 am. Advanced scheduling of charging will be available via an app linked to Wallbox’s new charger for electric vehicles, which Scottish Power will install. Wallbox and Scottish Power claim it is the fastest EV charger in the UK, with charging being 50% faster.