DHL seeks to go further with augmented reality

Options and partners sought after vision picking success in warehouse test

DHL seeks to go further with augmented reality
Inside view: the augmented reality display as it appears to pickers.


DHL is looking to explore the economic feasibility of smart glasses and augmented reality beyond warehouse applications.

The move follows a Dutch warehousing pilot project DHL and its partners – Japanese imaging and electronics company Ricoh and German wearable computing technology firm Ubimax – have undertaken and dubbed a success.

The international logistics firm flagged the technology’s value last June in a report arguing transportation, last mile delivery and value-added services operations can also be boosted by augmented reality applications.  

In the three week warehouse 'vision picking' project, warehouse workers in the southern Dutch town of Bergen op Zoom were equipped with head-mounted displays such as Google Glass and Ubimax’s VuzixM100.

The technology uses graphics displayed on the smart glass with the aim of speeding up processes and reducing errors.

Overall, 10 order pickers used the equipment and picked more than 20,000 items, fulfilling 9,000 orders within a given time frame, with DHL claiming a 25 per cent efficiency rise as a result.

While Google has hit something of a speed hump last month in social applications for Google Glass, DHL and Ricoh say they are jointly evaluating the roll-out of their logistics solution.

"Vision picking enables hands free order picking and greatly increases productivity," DHL Supply Chain Benelux technology director Jan-Willem De Jong notes.

"The technology significantly supports our staff and brings exciting value to our customers.

"However, this is just the first step in our innovation journey as we believe augmented reality will become relevant for even more supply chain areas."



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