FedEx Express, together with robotics solution provider for logistics Dorabot, has launched an AI-powered intelligent sorting robot to handle the growing volume of e-commerce shipments in Asia Pacific.
The deployment of the robot is also part of FedEx Express’ latest push in digitising its operations and building a smart logistics network.
Called the DoraSorter, the robot is being deployed at the 5,200sqm FedEx South China E-Commerce Shipment Sorting Center in Guangzhou. DoraSorter is already part of the daily sorting operations and is capable of handling small inbound and outbound packages from e-commerce customers in South China.
Kawal Preet, president of the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) region at FedEx Express, said: “With e-commerce taking centre stage in the future of retail in our region, the speed with which a parcel can be picked up and delivered to customers’ doorsteps has become a dominant factor in driving the adoption of sorting robots.”
He added that bringing DoraSorter to China as a pilot program is a natural choice as the country is the world’s biggest e-commerce market with an expected valuation of US$3.3 trillion by 2025.
“As we look to build a data-driven, smart logistics network to help our customers thrive in the digital economy, this alliance with Dorabot is part of becoming the network for what’s next. AI-powered technology will continue to change how we support customers in the region and enhance supply chains for the future,” said Preet.
DoraSorter’s core function of sorting parcels based on destination matches the sorting centre’s operation process. Key features of DoraSorter include:
- At approximately 40sqm , the robot can carry up to 10 kilograms of packages, covering up to 100 destinations simultaneously.
- The robot has a special drawer-shaped gripper that can connect with the conveyor belt seamlessly.
- Equipped with a barcode reader that scans package to obtain destination information, the robot uses its gripper to receive a package inward from the conveyor belt and moves it outward to the corresponding destination slot.
"The use of DoraSorter helps FedEx sort a higher volume of cross-border e-commerce shipments,” said Xiaobai Deng, founder and CEO of Dorabot. “It is the starting point of a global collaboration between Dorabot and FedEx. We hope that we can work together to bring AI and robotics applications to more businesses and consumers."
Indeed, FedEx investment in warehouse automation echoes broader industry trends. Triggered by the global pandemic, logistics players are optimising operational efficiencies, from warehouse management to last-mile delivery, to cater to the soaring demand for e-commerce products, seasonal peaks, and consumers’ heightened expectations for fast delivery.
According to McKinsey & Company, the global warehouse automation market is projected to reach US$51 billion by 2030. By 2025, more than four million commercial robots will be installed at more than 50,000 warehouses.
“Innovation is at our core and is a major factor behind FedEx strategy in China,” said Robert Chu, vice president, Operations, FedEx China. “To meet customers' changing needs, we have been exploring and investing in new technologies to enhance every key aspect of transportation. The rapid rise in e-commerce has led to higher customer demand for timeliness and flexibility in logistics services, creating new challenges and opportunities for the entire logistics industry. Our collaboration with Dorabot is our latest effort to improve operational efficiencies and build an agile logistics infrastructure through robotics technology that will support the growth of China's e-commerce industry."
FedEx continues to leverage advanced technologies to streamline its operations and help customers of all sizes in China and beyond seize opportunities in the global market.
Last October, FedEx teamed up with Neolix to test an autonomous delivery vehicle in China. The company is also testing FedEx SameDay Bot , Roxo in AMEA to explore the future of contactless, last-mile delivery.
In addition, FedEx also launched a sensor-based logistics device – SenseAwareID, designed to enhance tracking precision, reliability and timely delivery of critical shipments such as life-saving pharmaceuticals and emergency medical supplies.