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Supply Chain by the Numbers

- Nov. 13, 2014 -

  Supply Chain by the Numbers for Week of Nov. 13, 2014

Amazon Looking for Drone Engineers in Cambridge, UK; Google and Its Robotic Karate Kid; Nat Gas Truck Sales to Rise, but More Slowly; US-China Climate Accord Impact Overstated?



That's the number of position categories currently available for Amazon’s expanding drone research operation in Cambridge, UK, home of the famous university there. After an acquisition of a voice technology company there two years, Amazon decided to also use that base to also significantly expand its drone research in Cambridge, under its Amazon Prime Air banner. Available positions as of today include office manager, flight operations engineers, senior research scientists, software developers and more. Not much detail on how much any of these pay, but Amazon promises "an iterative fast-paced environment where you can drive innovation, apply state-of-the-art technologies to solve extreme-scale real world challenges, and provide visible benefit to end-users," we assume pitching to millennials in search of more meaning in their jobs.




The year in which China has "promised" its carbon emissions will peak, under a new accord between the US and China announced this week after some 9 months of talks. It is also the year by which China has committed to have 20% of its energy coming from "clean" sources such as wind and solar. Meanwhile, the US announced in parallel that it would set a target to reduce its CO2 emissions by 26-28% from 2005 levels by 2025, double the pace of reduction it targeted for the period from 2005 to 2020. While much of the press has been characterizing the agreement as "historic," the goals are non-binding, and as the liberal Daily Beast notes, the announcement "is largely a restatement of existing American and Chinese carbon emission trajectories, topped with a new red ribbon." In other words, the deal won’t really generate any new initiatives or changes beyond existing plans and trends.


That is the number of "hydraulically actuated joints" that are part of the new Atlas robot from Google, the result of its acquisition of Boston Dynamics a couple of years ago. Atlas, by the way, comes in at 6 foot 2 inches tall and weighs some 330 pounds. He also has "stereo vision" - whatever that is. It certainly appears to be a big advance in robot technology - Google released video of Atlas doing karate routines rather well, and claims it was designed so that Atlas can drive a car. Google has big plans for such robots, working in factories and perhaps delivering packages to your door ala the UPS man.



That's the share of the market for natural gas powered engines in the heavy duty Class 8 truck market - which includes both trucks and busses - expected by 2025. That according to a new analysis by ACT Research. The firm, however, says that prediction is down from what it had forecast in 2012, as lower diesel prices and increasing fuel efficiency by new traditional diesel powered engines have closed the cost advantage once held by natural gas. ACT says the penetration of Class 8 natural gas truck/transit busses was 3% in 2013 and should reach 4% in 2014, or about 11,000 units. Assuming 200,000 total Class 8 units sold in the US in 2025, that would create a market of 46,000 nat gas vehicles or so by then. ACT notes that new regulations could potentially increase that forecast.

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