What Does the Forklift of the Future Look Like?

Forklifts are typically considered equipment for indoor use, transporting materials from one place to another within a manufacturing or storage facility. However, these machines aren’t just for Amazon or Walmart warehouses. Heavy-duty forklifts are quite often an integral part of construction projects for moving heavier materials and other items on a job site. The far-reaching use of this equipment in both indoor and outdoor environments has led engineers to update the forklift with more modern components for greater efficiency and safety. The result of such futuristic innovation has been the Intelligent Forklift!!

According to Forbes magazine, the new and improved forklift is computerized and automated. It can be programmed to — on its own and without a human operator — acquire specific materials from a precise location and transport them to their destination quickly and securely.

An intelligent forklift system can be implemented in any warehouse or construction site, with proper training. Many construction consultants are already educated in this new and improved version of the forklift and can expertly train any construction foreman or warehouse manager how to implement automated forklifts into their daily planning and processes.

Okay, now for the first question that follows any mention of self-operating technology: Will it eliminate jobs held by hardworking employees? The answer seems to be no, it merely transitions forklift operators from pulling levers while in the machine and to programming the equipment with their feet on the ground. This will, of course, require some re-training for operators, but also has the added benefit of improving safety standards for workers.

Traditional forklift operation is consistently considered by OSHA standards to be one of the more dangerous tasks at any warehouse or worksite. By learning how to program and remotely operate the intelligent forklift from a distance, operators on the ground can send the equipment into situations that may have been dangerous for a human sitting in the machine. Plus, operators who learn to program automated forklifts can avoid that risky neck and back strain from the repetitive movements and posture associated with directly operating equipment.

Imagine watching a driverless forklift as it moves towards a loading dock and effortlessly — and with exact precision — loads and unloads materials. Meanwhile the forklift driver-turned-programmer looks on, knowing that keeping up with new technology and learning new skills has helped him not only keep his job, but perform his tasks at a heightened level of efficiency and safety. That’s what the future looks like, and it’s pretty exciting for those who are willing to learn and adapt to new innovations in worksite equipment.


Emily Kil is a professional writer who, when not helping her husband with his bio-hazard cleaning business, RVs with her family around the USA. She’s driven across the country five times, including an epic roadtrip to Alaska.

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