Winners of the Future Logistics Challenge 2019 announced

Winners of the Future Logistics Challenge 2019 announced

Hannover/Hamburg, 6 November 2019 – Start-ups Neohelden and VISCOPIC have won the Future Logistics Challenge 2019. The award was initiated by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Hermes Europe. The winners each receive €125,000 of start-up capital to carry out a feasibility test of the ideas that they presented. They will be doing this proof of concept test together with Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Hermes Europe. The shared objective: solutions for the logistics world of tomorrow.

“Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles already received lots of important inspiration for creative mobility, transport and charging infrastructure solutions through the Innovation Challenge last year. With Hermes Europe as our new partner, we’ve now further developed this project for encouraging innovative start-ups,” said Heinz-Jürgen Löw, Management Board Member for Sales and Marketing at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (VWCV). Löw continued: “We now look forward to working with Neohelden and VISCOPIC on developing their innovative new approaches in the areas of ‘Delivery Driver Experience’ and ‘Smart Delivery Vehicles’. They are worthy winners of the first Future Logistics Challenge.”

Marco Schlüter, Chief Operating Officer of Hermes Germany: “We were extremely impressed by the broad range of themes that the start-ups addressed in their entries for the Challenge. Now, with the implementation of their ideas the winners enter the next exciting stage. The aim is to develop solutions in a fairly short period of time that Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Hermes will then trial in real-world use in a three- to six-month pilot beginning at the start of the year.”

More than 180 start-ups from all over Europe had entered the Challenge with their proposed solutions on all aspects of the delivery vehicle eco-system. Working in conjunction with project partner betahaus X, all entries were analysed using a standardised process. The 30 start-ups with the most convincing concepts then received invitations to attend face-to-face interviews. The best eight entrants were then invited to Berlin for a two-day boot camp: they were start-ups from the fields of ‘Driver Behaviour Analysis’, ‘VR/AR’, ‘Fleet Management’, ‘Voice/AI’, ‘Predictive Maintenance’ and ‘Parking’. They had the opportunity there to discuss and hone their ideas with experts from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Hermes Europe. The participants were also given training on pitching – including general coaching and suggestions for improving their performance, storyline and the execution of their presentation.

On 5 November, the finalists then had the opportunity at a pitch in Berlin event venue Amplifier to present their concepts to the high-calibre Challenge jury: Kay Schiebur (Group Services Director, Otto Group), Marco Schlüter (Chief Operating Officer, Hermes Germany), Kai Grünitz (Chief Technical Officer, Autonomous Vehicles, VWCV), Jens-Philipp Klein (Atlantic Labs) and Heinz-Jürgen Löw (Management Board Member for Sales and Marketing, VWCV). The entrants ultimately able to make the most compelling case in the pitch were Neohelden and VISCOPIC.

Neohelden’s concept: The start-up from Karlsruhe has developed a voice assistant called ‘Neo’, which assists drivers from the very outset. Whether it be for onboarding, the first few delivery runs or an overview of the parcels handed on, the ‘Conversational interface’ works in dozens of languages. The assistant has the advantage of linking both partners’ existing systems, such as databases, CRM systems and infotainment screens, together with each other in a simple way.

VISCOPIC’s concept: The Munich-based start-up primarily took on the challenges faced in the delivery vehicle’s cargo space, where numerous parcels are stacked. Thanks to a data-based coordinates system the deliveries are sorted in advance by the driver in such a way that he is able to find them again quickly and easily. A live camera feed shows precisely where each package is. VISCOPIC believe that implementation of their solution could produce an increase in efficiency in the delivery process of up to 20 per cent.

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