For logistics professionals who are responsible for managing assets in their yard using radios, clip boards and mobile phones, the idea that yard management could be made easier by flying drones could be hard to swallow.
However, advances in UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) technology mean that having a drone flying around a logistics yard, either manually, or autonomously, is not very far off on the horizon.
One of the leaders in this is PINC Solutions, a software company who recently unveiled PINC Air, which is an autonomous real-time location system (RTLS) built into a drone. This provides the capability to capture information about large areas of stored assets, and can be used in service of inventory management.
PINC Air works autonomously by beginning and ending it’s journeys on the same spot automatically, and it is able to recognize and avoid any obstructions in its flight path. The drone is enabled with their RTLS technology, which transmits the video and RTLS data across WIFI networks on the ground.
The company describes it as low cost drones operating as readers, taking tours of the yard and confirming where any assets are and whether they have left the yard.
In addition to this, the technology can be used for tracking assets where heavy manufacturing is taking place, to locate valuable assets that are stored outside of the manufacturing facility. This is especially valuable in laydown locations, which can be spread over acres.
In both cases, the UAV is serving as another set of eyes to shippers who need better visibility into what’s going on in their yards. Giving extra protection over any activities and their equipment that is being stored.
It must be noted that yard management systems don’t necessarily need to be so technical, or even situated in an aerial position to be of use to logistics yard managers.
Other options include the types of systems used in transportation management systems and warehouse management systems, which utilize barcodes, RFID chips and other scan-able objects.
Learn more about yard management solutions.