FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp., announced the launch of DoraSorter – an AI-powered smart sorting robot – in collaboration with Dorabot, a provider of robotic solutions for logistics.

The sorting robot represents the company’s latest step in digitizing its operations and building an intelligent logistics network to handle the ever-increasing volumes of e-commerce related shipments in the region.

First of its kind in China for FedEx, the DoraSorter robot is deployed at 5,200 m2 FedEx South China eCommerce Shipment Sorting Center in Guangzhou. DoraSorter is already part of day-to-day sorting operations and is able to handle inbound and outbound small parcels for e-commerce customers in southern China.

As the FedEx and Dorabot teams continue to refine the robot based on operational requirements and explore more application scenarios, DoraSorter’s core function of sorting packages by destination is the operating process of the sorting center. Key features of DoraSorter include:

  • At about 40m2the robot can transport up to 10 kg of parcels, covering up to 100 destinations simultaneously.
  • The robot has a special drawer-shaped gripper that can seamlessly connect with the conveyor belt.
  • Equipped with a barcode reader that scans the package for destination information, the robot uses its gripper to receive a package inward from the conveyor belt and moves it outward to the destination slot corresponding.

FedEx’s investment in this warehouse automation echoes broader industry trends. Triggered by the global pandemic, logistics players are optimizing operational efficiencies, from warehouse management to last-mile delivery, to meet growing demand for e-commerce products, seasonal spikes and heightened consumer expectations in terms of fast delivery.

According to McKinsey & Company, the global warehouse automation market is expected to reach $51 billion by 2030. By 2025, more than four million commercial robots will be installed in more than 50,000 warehouses.

“With e-commerce taking center stage in the future of retail in our region, the speed with which a package can be picked up and delivered to customers’ doorsteps has become a dominant factor in the adoption of sorting robots. Bringing DoraSorter to China as a pilot program is a natural fit for us given that it is the largest e-commerce market in the world with an expected valuation of $3.3 trillion by 2025,” said Kawal Preet, president of the Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) region at FedEx Express.

“As we seek to build an intelligent, data-driven logistics network to help our customers thrive in the digital economy, this alliance with Dorabot is part of our drive to become the network of the future. AI-powered technology will continue to change the way we support customers in the region and improve supply chains for the future.

“Innovation is at the heart of our concerns and is a major factor in FedEx’s strategy in China,” said Robert Chu, vice president, operations, FedEx China. “To meet changing customer needs, we have explored and invested in new technologies to improve every key aspect of transportation.

“The rapid rise of e-commerce has led to increased customer demand for speed 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 efficiency and build an agile logistics infrastructure through robotic technology that will support the growth of China’s e-commerce industry.

“Using DoraSorter helps FedEx sort a larger volume of cross-border e-commerce shipments,” said Xiaobai Deng, Founder and CEO of Dorabot.

“This is the start of a global collaboration between Dorabot and FedEx. We hope we can work together to bring AI and robotics applications to more businesses and consumers.

FedEx continues to leverage advanced technologies to streamline operations and help customers of all sizes in China and beyond seize opportunities in the global marketplace. Last October, FedEx partnered with Neolix to test an autonomous delivery vehicle in China.

The company is also testing FedEx SameDay Bot, Roxo in the AMEA to explore the future of last mile contactless delivery. In addition, FedEx has also launched a sensor-based logistics device – SenseAwareID, designed to improve tracking accuracy, reliability and rapid delivery of critical shipments such as life-saving pharmaceuticals and emergency medical supplies.

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