A2X Interview Ducktrain on revolutionizing last mile logistics

copyrightn Ducktrain

copyrightn Ducktrain

For this interview, we spoke with Kai Kreisköther, the co-founder and CEO of the Aachen-based logistics startup Ducktrain.

Kai is a founder at heart. After 8 years of working in research and development of electrified and automated vehicles and completing his dissertation, Kai co-founded Ducktrain in 2018. Ask Kai about his number 1 sailing rule and he’ll tell you “more wind is better”.

What are the challenges of logistics? 

Kai: The key challenge is that we have an enormously growing logistics volume in urban areas. The last mile has become the focus of attention in recent years and this will intensify. There has been immense growth due to the Corona pandemic. While there is already a very high standard of digitalization in logistics centers and in the upstream logistics chain, it remains extremely manual in the last mile in the city.

What innovations do we need in the last mile?

Kai: We are firmly convinced that we need a sustainable change in delivery vehicles in the urban areas of large cities and metropolitan regions, in order to reduce impact on city infrastructure and also maintain efficiency at the customer’s doorstep.

“Unlike a delivery truck, however, this solution is emission-free and 100 percent electrically powered.”

How are you creating change with Ducktrain?

Kai: Ducktrains are cost-effective and efficient. They allow you to drive on streets, footpaths and pavements and get as close as possible to the front door without blocking roads or having to look for a parking space first. Brief explanation: Ducks are small logistics vehicles, one meter wide, two meters long, which make parcel delivery, food delivery and general cargo logistics possible. Several Ducks can be linked together to form a Ducktrain – just like ducklings in a row. With the help of sensors, each Duck recognizes its surroundings and the guiding object and follows it automatically. This makes it possible to achieve a payload similar to that of a conventional delivery van. Unlike a delivery truck, however, this solution is emission-free and 100 percent electrically powered.

A2X Interview with logistics startup Ducktrain

What exactly does cost-effective mean?

Kai: Together with users, we developed process cost calculations and found that by switching from the classic delivery vehicle, with its parking problems, with its walking distances, you could save 20 to 35 percent of personnel costs if you came closer to the households of B2C customers with a lean logistics vehicle. That is an enormous savings potential when you consider that more than 50 percent of last mile costs are personnel costs.

What services do you offer specifically? 

Kai: We offer our technology as infrastructure to anyone who wants to use it. We want to offer technology, but we don’t want to operate the logistics. We also take care of maintenance and repair, in other words, the all-round carefree package. In Aachen, we are already testing on public roads.

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