Drone delivery

Drones, driverless vehicles key to supply chains

Riley Riley

NFTs, blockchain, AI, drones and autonomous vehicles are the key to more resilient supply chains.

Supply chains are the way goods and services get from their origin to the end consumer, sometimes just on time.

Emerging technologies and digital infrastructures, such as NFTs, smart sensors, drones, autonomous vehicles and Artificial Intelligence forecasting, could reduce the vulnerabilities in Melbourne’s supply chain highlighted during the pandemic, a new report finds.

The report — Towards just and resilient supply chains for the digital CBD — aims to provide a deeper understanding of the issues and challenges supply chains faced during the pandemic.

It explains how emerging technologies and other digital infrastructures can be used to build secure digital supply networks into the future.

The report says supply chains all around the world have been revolutionised by automated or driverless technologies, such as autonomous vehicles, robotics and drones.

It says Victoria could develop the policies and shared infrastructure, and put in place incentives to trial the technology within Melbourne and position the city as one of the global leaders in autonomous last mile-delivery.

The report claims that in combination with other emerging technologies, blockchain technology has a myriad of benefits and can create more efficient, effective and resilient supply chains.

It recommends the Victorian Government create a blockchain based supply chain pilot, highlighting the construction industry as a great example of an industry that would benefit from such a pilot.

Other recommendations include the use of Non-Fungible Tokens as a digital twin to mitigate against fraud, theft and loss; and standardising supply chain cyber security requirements to support cyber resilience and mitigate against risks when operationalising emerging technologies.

Published by RMIT’s Blockchain Innovation Hub, the Centre for Cyber Security Research & Innovation and the Digital Ethnography Research Centre, the report also highlights research opportunities and policy recommendations for building more resilient and just supply chains towards a digital CBD.

Co-author, Dr Tharuka Rupasinghe from RMIT’s Blockchain Innovation Hub, said “integrating digitalisation” is key to resolving disruptions to Melbourne’s supply chains, now and in the future.

“Melbourne needs resilient supply chains that respond to shocks and threats with the ability to adapt to changing conditions.” she said.

“The city has the potential to be a testbed for autonomous vehicles and to develop a blockchain pilot.”

Hub Co-Director Associate Professor Chris Berg said the report highlights how new technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence can facilitate innovation in supply chains that provides greater resilience and adaptability.

“At first glance, a single city might be a strange framework to think about supply chains when we associate supply chains with large scale global networks rather than the urban and suburban environments of a city,” he said.

“But as this report shows, the city is shaped by supply chains both large and small. As economic activity shifts, as it did during the pandemic, so too supply chains are restructured around the new demands and environments.”

Towards just and resilient supply chains for the digital CBD is the third report in a five part series commissioned by the Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund (VHESIF).

It is available for download.



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