Looking for a comprehensive warehousing and logistics partner to support your business that can reach 60% of your EU customers in only eight hours?
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As Ziegler Group begins introducing autonomous delivery vehicles (AVs) to Europe, there is much to understand about how these vehicles work and their potential to create positive changes for emissions, city congestion, and much more.

With several autonomous Transporter vehicles from Udelv set to arrive in late 2022, Ziegler Group is preparing to test them for eventual use in city centres throughout Europe.

As exciting as this sounds, safety must be a top priority. AVs will require rigorous testing and regulatory changes before sharing the road with regular traffic. And the general public needs to be convinced of their safety as well.

We can explore how AVs work to understand them better since they will play an increasingly integral part in our daily lives in the future. What technologies enable them to safely enter traffic and navigate a specific set of coordinates safely?

Let’s find out how the Transporters work!



The Delivery Vehicle of the Future

Although many different AV technologies are being developed worldwide, not all rely on the same methods. Most self-driving vehicle manufacturers aren’t focused on developing vehicles intended to make deliveries, which have different considerations that need to be factored in.

The Transporter was developed by Udelv, who makes self-driving delivery vehicles, and MobileEye, an Intel company. Udelv vehicles already have made more than 20,000 deliveries during testing in the USA, and MobilEye technology is currently used in more than 100 million cars worldwide to make driving safer.

The new Transporter, set to hit the market in 2022, is the result of their combined expertise, testing, and experience with initial prototypes. It’s a level 4 autonomous electric vehicle that can make all sorts of deliveries safely and securely. According to Udelv, the Transporter is the first end-to-end solution to autonomous last- and middle-mile delivery.

“From pharmaceutical pills, to groceries, to a 93-inch muffler,” According to Daniel Laury, CEO and Co-Founder of Udelv. “Eventually, this will lead to lower consumer prices, more efficient deliveries, and decongested roads.”


How It Works

There is a massive difference between the requirements of regular self-driving cars and autonomous delivery vehicles, which need to be able to make deliveries easily and securely and drive autonomously.



Cab-less Driving

The Transporter has no seats, steering wheel or pedals. By removing the cab, the vehicle can maximise space for making deliveries.
The Transporter uses the Mobileye Drive™ to drive without anyone piloting it. The system scans its surroundings and references past driving data while automatically opting for the most efficient routes depending on the conditions.

The Mobileye Drive™ self-driving system is made up of the following components:
● Cameras
● LiDARs
● Radars
● EyeQ® (5th Generation)
● Road Experience Management

The redundant suite of sensors – cameras, LiDAR and Radar – allow the vehicle to understand its environment and respond to real-time traffic and road conditions and is powered by EyeQ® from Mobileye.

The vehicle’s software continually updates the vehicle with the most recent and high-definition map coverage to ensure safe trips.



Safe and Intelligent Deliveries

“The Transporter is designed to automate a multi-step delivery journey,” Says Daniel Laury. “Up to 80 stops per run!”
The uPod is the part of the vehicle that handles cargo and deliveries. It can carry up to 2000lbs of cargo. The interior of the uPod has adjustable interior shelves that easily resize to make room for goods of all shapes and sizes.

Deliveries are made by a unique opening mechanism that only allows access to the appropriate package, preventing other people from claiming your cargo.

The uPod is also linked to a cloud-based intelligence software responsible for loading, unloading, and cargo return.
Recipients will be able to use an app to claim their cargo. Udelv has created both B2B and B2C mobile applications for retailers and consumers to retrieve/load the items.



Control from Miles Away

There will be certain situations that arise that require human help, and when that happens, remote operators are always ready to take over control of the vehicle. Unlike drivers, however, a single operator can monitor multiple vehicles simultaneously.



Continuous Improvement & Efficiency

The vehicle is electric and is offered with battery packs ranging from 90 to 160 kilowatt-hours.

The Transporter is truly an impressive feat of technology, and it gives us a glimpse of what to expect in the years to come. Ziegler Group is excited to test the Transporter on private property in the near future!
If you’re looking to know more about autonomous vehicles and how you can leverage this technology for your own needs, contact us!

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After Ziegler Laval produced Ziegler-branded honey pots harvested from their very own onsite beehives, it’s now Ziegler Strasbourg’s turn to take the plunge into beekeeping under the guidance of Alexander Ende, Route Inter manager, who is a passionate beekeeper with a dozen beehives he maintains personally. So it’s fitting that he will oversee the installation and operation of two beehives at the Strasbourg branch. Each hive will house 50,000 bees and can produce 10 to 15 kilos of honey per year. The first harvest of acacia honey is expected in June!

Beehives have also been installed on the roof of Ziegler’s headquarters in Brussels.

The goal is that these projects will further ‘pollinate’ the initiative throughout the rest of Ziegler branches in Belgium.

In doing so, Ziegler is taking its eco-responsible approach even further by transforming its roofs and green spaces into refuges for biodiversity and well-being. In this way, Ziegler is doing our part to contribute to UN Sustainability Goal 15, which was established in 2015 by the United Nations as a blueprint for a better and more sustainable future: a world that respects life.


Bees have always exercised on humans a form of fascination, enthusiasm unanimously shared as it is true that they present singular characteristics that do not fail to astonish. They are symbols of dedication, productive organization and life. Their work is invaluable to both humans and animals.

Aren’t they essential to life as Albert Einstein wrote ““If the bee disappears from the surface of the Earth, man would have no more than four years left to live. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man”?

Bees also have a relationship with Ziegler’s activity: they are the ones that fertilize plants and above all “transport” pollen. By their cells, the honeycombs are also reminiscent of the shelves of Ziegler’s logistics activity.

It is therefore not surprising that Ziegler intends to preserve this endangered species by embarking on urban beekeeping as part of its “Ziegler. Now Even Greener”.

Coraline Vleminckx, our quality assistant, proposed a project close to her heart in collaboration with her uncle, a beekeeper in town trained by Srabe Asbl, Royal Beekeeping Society of Brussels and Surroundings. 

The objective is to install the first hives on the roof of the Ziegler headquarters in Brussels at the end of April 2022, and then to “pollinate” the initiative everywhere within the Ziegler branches in Belgium.

The location of the first hives is ideal because Ziegler’s headquarters is located a few bee’s wing beats from the gardens of the royal palace where bees can forage at leisure.. 

The first honey harvest, which is expected at the end of July 2022, will be packaged in small 150 g and 300 g jars in Ziegler colors which will reward employees and will be offered to customers who share a loyalty approach based on a strong value of protecting the environment. What could be better than tasting this homemade nectar?

Thanks to its beekeeping harvests, Ziegler will also produce sweets which will be distributed to schools, which will make it possible to carry out an educational action to raise awareness of environmental issues for children.

In doing so, Ziegler goes even further in its eco-responsible approach by transforming its roofs and green spaces into refuges of biodiversity and well-being. Ziegler thus responds to Goal No. 15 set up in 2015 by the United Nations, serving as a blueprint for achieving a better and more sustainable future: that of a world that respects life.

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As part of a series of interviews focused on the topic of last mile logistics, Ziegler met with Mr. Philippe Lebeau, Professor at the VUB and a member of the MOBI Research Center. His expertise covers, among other things, supply chain management, sustainable logistics, electric vehicles and freight transport in Brussels. In particular, he contributed to the “Cargo Bike” project launched by the Brussels-Capital Region, which aimed to create the ecosystem necessary to stimulate the wider adoption of cargo bikes with the underlying goal of reducing reliance on motor vehicles. Having devoted his PhD to the electrification of urban logistics, Philippe Lebeau has focused his research on last mile logistics and worked for four years on the development of a sustainable distribution network in Brussels that is based on a system of using urban centers of consolidation together with electric vans. His research then led him to study the use of cargo bikes for last mile (the BCklet project). He is also active within the VUB, where he leads the courses  on sustainable mobility and logistics with Professor Cathy Macharis.

So there are many good reasons to ask for his insights into the effectiveness of Ziegler’s latest last mile innovation project: the XXL cargo bike and the urban micro-hub.


The Cargobike: an excellent urban delivery solution with low environmental impact

In Mr. Lebeau’s opinion, initiatives such as the XXL cargo bike developed by Ziegler represent an excellent solution to meet the challenge posed by climate change and poor air quality. Since cargo bike has the advantage of being electrically powered, it doesn’t emit atmospheric pollutants such as CO2, NOx and PM.

But that’s not the only benefit. When we talk about external societal costs associated with transport, we must also consider the noise pollution it causes. Already improvements in this area are being made, for example with the introduction of 30 km/h zones in Brussels and the speed limit of 100 km/h on the Brussels Ring. “Not only are cargo bikes quieter and reduce noise levels, they are also safer because they are slower.”


A solution to urban congestion

What’s more, cargo bikes can also help alleviate congestion problems in city centres. Indeed, they can use the cycle lanes as long as they are wide enough and in good condition.


Massification versus fragmentation

To combat urban congestion, a rule of thumb is to consolidate shipments and make smart decisions based on the volume of goods transported. The principle is that it is better to dispatch a full truck rather than 10 smaller vans to make the same deliveries. The same logic naturally applies to cargo bikes.

In order to optimize environmental performance, it is necessary to couple groupage/consolidation with cargo bikes. There is no point in further fragmenting volumes. The goal is not to put as many delivery vehicles on the road as possible, but to use cargo bikes wisely, where their use has the  most impact.


How urban logistics micro-platforms and cargo bikes complement each other

The combination of micro-hubs and the cargo bike is perfect because it allows goods to be brought closer to consumers. The goods are first pre-routed in bulk to the micro-hub by small groupage vehicles. Last mile delivery can then be provided from the central micro-hub by cargo bikes, which is the ideal solution: not only can it be parked easily, but it is also emission free. In this configuration, last mile delivery can be arranged within a radius of 3 to 5 km from the micro-hub.

By consolidating flows while implementing electric cargo bikes together with urban micro-hubs, it becomes possible to reduce the distance travelled for each delivery, which translates into fewer emissions and a reduction in external societal costs.

“Your cargo bike has the advantage of being very large, which allows you to transport many parcels at the same time, and your micro-hub in Place Albertine is perfectly located for deliveries in the centre of Brussels”.


The latest thinking on micro-hubs

Currently, one idea that is being researched in Brussels is that of a shared repository. It would be a deposit open to carriers with the aim of consolidating the goods as much as possible.

Tests were also carried out in Brussels on mobile hubs. A semi-trailer, for example, could act as a hub. However, for a city like Brussels, this solution isn’t quite the ideal solution. A lean approach would be micro-hubs in the form of vans or smaller trucks that would be parked at the start of the day and act as hubs to supply cargo bikes.


Other solution in addition to cargo bikes and micro-hubs?

Future opportunities will depend on  the continuing electrification of delivery vehicles as well as the reduction of diesel-powered vans. By 2030, the use of diesel vans under 3.5 tonnes will be banned in the Brussels LEZ (Low Emission Zone). However, a recent survey showed that of all delivery vehicles in Brussels, 94% still used diesel, compared to only 5% petrol and 1% CNG.

And even today, a majority of companies surveyed still rank diesel as the top fuel for their future van purchases, although electric is gaining popularity and is currently in second place.

Professor Philippe Lebeau concluded with this: “We are very happy to explore all these new and innovative options for last mile delivery and hope that in the future we can work together on even more exciting projects! We are fully prepared to help and support Ziegler in your research! It would be great if we could share best practices in urban logistics with each other. Ziegler is a big name in transport and a major player in the logistics field. It is encouraging to see you participating in cyclo-logistics. Indeed, this should not only be reserved for small niche operators, it is really something that is gaining momentum and which makes sense for large operators. So together we can increase the impact of sustainable and innovative last mile logistics.”