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Forklift Drivers Wanted: Can Work Remotely

Logistics provider Geodis is partnering with Phantom Auto to implement technology that enables remote operations.

A Phantom Auto forklift driving console.

A Phantom Auto forklift driving console.

Photographer: Francois Bouriard/Geodis/REA


Logistics giant Geodis SA says it plans to begin using remote-operated forklifts in its warehouses. The Paris-based company announced early Wednesday that it has formed a partnership with Silicon Valley start-up Phantom Auto to supply tele-operations. The two companies began working together in 2019 to test remote-operated forklifts in a warehouse in Le Mans, France. With that pilot successfully concluded, Geodis is working on a plan to deploy the technology commercially, according to Stéphanie Hervé, the company’s chief operation officer for Western Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “We need to do it step by step,” said Hervé in a call last week. “We will not replace everything at one time.”

Phantom Auto’s technology allows “digital drivers,” as Geodis calls them, to sit at a console and operate a forklift from thousands of miles away. “I am here in my office in Paris,” said Hervé, “And I can see the warehouse with a 360-degree view. I hear everything. I have a steering wheel. I have pedals. And I can drive the forklift.”