SG Holdings, Sagawa Express, Sumitomo Corporation, and Dexterity to Pioneer AI-Powered Package Loading in Japan Logistics industry

Dec 15, 2023

SG Holdings, Sagawa Express, Sumitomo Corporation, and Dexterity to Pioneer AI-Powered Package Loading in Japan Logistics industry

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SG HOLDINGS Co., Ltd. (hereinafter “SG Holdings”), SAGAWA EXPRESS Co., Ltd. (hereinafter “SAGAWA”), Sumitomo Corporation (hereinafter “Sumitomo Corporation”), and Dexterity, Inc. (hereinafter “Dexterity”), a U.S.-based unicorn company specializing in the development of AI robotics software, have initiated a joint project (hereinafter “the project”) to prove capability of and deploy AI-equipped Loading Robots. The project will demonstrate and harden the ability to automate cargo handling operations in response to future transportation capacity shortages. Initial testing of the system one year, with the goal of deploying the system shortly afterwards.

Overview
Duration     : 12 months starting December 2023
Locations  : 1. Dexterity’s facility in U.S. (Development of AI-equipped loading  robots) 2. SG Holdings Group “X FRONTIER®” (Verification of actual operations)
Project details     : 1. Validate the capability of AI-equipped loading robots based on Dexterity’s existing technology to meet the requirements of SAGAWA, such as loading quality and packing speed. 2. Demonstrating how these AI-equipped loading robots integrate with SAGAWA‘s relay center, X FROTIER®
Cost               : Approximately 600 million yen

Background
Logistics industry, is responding to the escalating demand for improved working conditions, particularly aimed at alleviating the challenges faced by truck drivers. This initiative is crucial amidst a backdrop of declining labor force and anticipated shortages in transportation capacity by 2030*.

The manual cargo loading process involves truck drivers and loading personnel swiftly loading boxes, while simultaneously accounting for size, shape, weight, remarks on shipping labels, and the condition of packaging materials. These loaders go beyond merely loading trucks, though. The company’s commitment to the careful handling of packages has significantly contributed to the maintenance and enhancement of transportation quality. Despite these efforts, the transition away from manual labor to uphold transport quality remains a formidable challenge.

* From the Cabinet Secretariat’s Emergency Package for Logistics Innovation. If no actions are taken, there is an estimated 14% transportation capacity shortage in FY 2024 and a 34% shortage in FY 2030.

About Our Project
In a groundbreaking collaboration, SG Holdings and SAGAWA have joined forces with Sumitomo Corporation, a longstanding logistics partner, to leverage technology to tackle this challenge. Drawing on Dexterity’s proven technology, well-established in the U.S. logistics sector, SAGAWA is committed to leveraging cutting edge AI and robotics to load trucks. This initiative capitalizes on Sumitomo Corporation’s comprehensive capabilities, facilitating seamless joint demonstrations.

The cutting-edge loading robot, featuring advanced AI technology developed by Dexterity in the U.S., will begin learning from SAGAWA’s logistics operations, ultimately matching SAGAWA’s loading speed and quality. This pioneering endeavor represents the Japanese logistics industry’s first effort to develop a robot capable of optimal cargo loading within a truck. With a primary objective of alleviating the workload of truck drivers and loading personnel, the project aims to automate the box loading process.

Planned Actions After Initial Validation
Following a thorough confirmation that the AI-equipped loading robots meet SAGAWA’s stringent transport quality standards and effectively function within the company’s workflow, the Project is poised to be deployed at large-scale SAGAWA relay facilities in Japan with additional sites to be enabled afterwards.

[Reference] Loading operation by a robot developed by Dexterity (in U.S.)
dexterity robot

SG HOLDINGS CO., LTD.
Headquarter                   : 68 Kamitobatsunoda-cho, Minami-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, Japan
Chairperson and CEO : Eiichi Kuriwada
As a comprehensive logistics group, SG Holdings is promoting automation and manpower saving with technology in order to continue providing stable logistics as a social infrastructure. Including this project, SG Holdings keep investing in IT to realize a sustainable society through logistics, in collaboration with diverse partners across industrial boundaries.

SAGAWA EXPRESS CO., LTD.
Headquarter   : 68 Tsunoda-cho, Kamitoba, Minami-ku, Kyoto, Japan
President         : Masahide Motomura
As a “True Partner and Logistics solutions Provider” that contributes to the development of customers, Sagawa Express will enhance and expand delivery business and provide comprehensive solutions in cooperation with group companies.
As a part of the social responsibility of a logistics company, we will give a first priority to safety, putting our efforts into environmental conservation and social contribution activities, and we aim to achieve sustainable growth.

Sumitomo Corporation
Headquarter      : Otemachi Place East Tower, 2-3-2 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Representative : President and CEO Masayuki Hyodo
Through its corporate venture capital (CVC) arm, Presidio Ventures Inc., Sumitomo Corporation invested in Dexterity in 2020 and has been the exclusive distributor for Dexterity’s products and services in Japan since 2022. Leveraging its network and comprehensive capabilities developed through long-term business relationships such as those with SG Holdings and SAGAWA, Sumitomo Corporation aims to contribute to the development of regional communities and industries, including solving logistics challenges.

Dexterity, Inc.
Headquarter       : 1205 Veterans Blvd, Redwood City, CA, USA
Representative  : President and CEO Samir Menon
Dexterity, Inc. is a Redwood City, California-based robotics company specializing in creating intelligent robots with human-like dexterity. By automating repetitive tasks, Dexterity’s full-stack robotics solutions unlock the maximum value of the workforce, allowing employees to focus on higher-level, cognitive work. With applications in logistics, warehousing, and supply chain operations, Dexterity’s robots excel in complex manipulations in unpredictable environments. To learn more, visit www.dexterity.ai.