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[ɔˈtɑnəməs ˈwizəl]

Nimble and driverless: the automated Wiesel has been designed to independently handle swap bodies on logistics yards. DB Schenker is currently testing the vehicle in the German city of Nuremberg

Photos: DB Schenker


Autonomous weasel

In the German-speaking world – and undoubtedly beyond that, too – logistics experts refer to a swap body transporter simply as a “Wiesel,” or “weasel” in English. One reason might be that like the eponymous furry predators, these vehicles are known for being nimble and agile; but primarily it is because their manufacturer, KAMAG, is a leader in its sector. The German company has now developed an automated, automatically guided vehicle – and DB Schenker is the first logistics service provider worldwide to test this driverless Wiesel in Nuremberg.

 

Designed to be used solely on a company’s business premises, the vehicle is equipped with sophisticated sensor technology that can detect obstacles and brake independently. The driverless test vehicle, a modified standard Wiesel, can also be brought to a standstill by remote control at any given time. This automated Wiesel is set to make logistics processes faster and more efficient.

 

“We already use driverless transport systems, and we want to further expand their utilization in future,” said Erik Wirsing, Vice President Global Innovation at Schenker AG. “Our logistics centers, in particular, can afford to become significantly faster and more efficient. The results of the test phase will demonstrate just how we can best integrate the system in our overland transport network.” KAMAG is testing its vehicle under real-life conditions in daily logistics operations and will use the insights gained from these tests to further develop its product. The market launch is scheduled for the end of 2019.


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