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DB Schenker testing Wiesel, an automated swap body transfer vehicle, at its site in Nuremberg

The vehicle, called Wiesel, has been developed and manufactured by Kamag to transport C-type, free-standing swap bodies in logistic yards autonomously

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Erik Wirsing, Vice President, Global Innovation at Schenker AG, said at a special presentation of the Wiesel: "Digitalisation improves efficiency throughout the entire transportation ecosystem. The use of driverless transportation systems is already an important component of our logistics processes. The evaluation of the test phase will show how we integrate the system into our overland transportation system."

Kamag’s Managing Director Bernd Schwengsbier stated: "The pilot project allows us to analyse the potential of the technology in specific everyday logistics applications. This will help us to further develop and improve the technology. With our automated guided vehicle we make a contribution to increasing the efficiency of our customers."

The Wiesel automated swap body mover. (Photo: DB Schenker)
The Wiesel automated swap body mover. (Photo: DB Schenker)

In the long term, the aim is to maximize the cost-effectiveness of automated swap body vehicles and to match the turnaround time of vehicles manned by drivers. In comparison with regular swap body transporters, potential benefits include reduced personnel costs, longer maintenance intervals as well as a resource-optimized operation. The automated operation of the Wiesel reduces pollutant emissions and noise. In light of the increasing staff shortages in the logistics industry, the autonomous vehicle can also help alleviate staffing issues.

Moreover, says DB Schenker, using automated vehicles improves the overall safety level on logistics yards, where human error is considered the main cause of accidents. The very precise sensors help to minimise the risk of injuries and damages to the infrastructure. In terms of safety and thanks to the sensors, the vehicle can detect obstacles and stops automatically whenever necessary. Adding to this, during the tests carried out by DB Schenker the vehicle could be stopped at any time using radio remote control.

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