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Today’s Pickup: Continental adds driverless delivery to portfolio

Continental has unveiled a driverless vehicle that can carry packages as well as RoboDogs – small delivery robots that can climb stairs and even ring doorbells. ( Photo: Continental )

Delivery robots, shifting supply chains due to trade wars, and automation slowing productivity in ports

Good day,

Continental has traditionally been known as a tire company, but in recent years it has been remaking itself into a technology-focused company, and this week at the Consumer Electronics Show, it took another step with the unveiling of its Continental Urban Mobility Experience (CUbE).

CUbE is a square, driverless delivery vehicle, capable of moving goods or even mini “delivery robots.” Continental believes this type of vehicle will be part of the future last-mile supply chain.

“With the help of robot delivery, Continental’s vision for seamless mobility can extend right to your doorstep. Our vision of cascaded robot delivery leverages a driverless vehicle to carry delivery robots, creating an efficient transport team,” said Ralph Lauxmann, Head of Systems & Technology, Chassis & Safety division, Continental. “Both are electrified, both are autonomous and, in principle, both can be based on the same scalable technology portfolio. These synergies create an exciting potential for holistic delivery concepts using similar solutions for different platforms. Beyond this technology foundation, it’s reasonable to expect a whole value chain to develop in this area.”

WhenCUbE arrives at a destination, it can deploy “RoboDogs” that are small delivery robots capable of carrying up to 20 pounds. The robots feature four legs that allow them to climb stairs or navigate over obstacles. They utilize a camera and lidar technology to find their way. The robot can even ring a doorbell.

Did you know?

According to a global survey from McKinsey & Co., ports that implement automation projects are seeing a 7 percent to 15 percent decline in container-handling productivity.


“Over the course of Q4’18, the list of indicators flashing yellow became longer and brighter for the US economy. While there is insufficient evidence to make a recession call, there is enough presently to suggest growing potential for sectoral recessions, à la 2015.”

– Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst

 In other news:

Supply chains reacting to tariffs

The trade dispute between the U.S. and China has some countries in Asia seeing opportunity to land manufacturing as companies try to avoid tariffs on Chinese goods. (Wall Street Journal)

Automation slowing container-handling productivity

A new study by McKinsey has found that as global ports deploy more automation, container-handling productivity is declining. (Llyod’s Loading List)

Is North Carolina looking at hyperloop?

A recent event put on by the North Carolina DOT included a speaker talking about the potential of hyperloop technology in the state, leading some to wonder if the state is considering it. (Government Technology)

Voters reject transportation bond, county lays off workers

An Arizona county has laid off 36 workers, mostly tied to highway infrastructure projects, after voters rejected a transportation bond project. (

Peak logistics season continues for some

While peak season for most companies passed along with the holidays, for those firms involved in the reverse logistics chain for holiday returns, business just keeps moving along. (Supply & Demand Chain Executive)

Final Thoughts

When the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) first debuted, it focused on new technologies for consumers. Apple would bring its new phones, and new televisions would dot the show floor. Today, CES has become the place to be if you are in the B2B world. Robots, software, and autonomous vehicles now occupy floor space. John Deere even brought a new farm tractor to the show this year. Why? As show CEO Gary Shapiro said during his keynote address, “all companies are becoming tech companies.” If you haven’t considered attending CES before, you might want to put it on your list for next year.

Hammer down everyone!

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight covers general transportation news and leads the editorial team as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler.