Automation Coming to Distribution Yards

Electric and autonomous trucks have made huge leaps in technology in the past several years.  Having said that, wide scale implementation within the trucking industry is still years away.  Automated distribution centers however will be tested very soon. Tech companies have received financing to launch startup businesses within the sector. “Outrider, a technology based company out of Golden, Colorado, has received $53 million to launch its startup and will begin beta testing of automated electric trucks at five yards in the U.S.,” Josh Fisher of FleetOwner reports.  Outrider posted a short video to its Twitter page to give the public a glimpse of how the process works, see below:

Andrew Smith, founder and CEO of Outrider, saw an inefficiency in the distribution yard processes which led him to create Outrider.  Distribution yards act as a “transmission point” between over the road operations and the factories, warehouses, and rail yards that are moving or repackaging the freight Smith says.  Not only is the goal of Outrider to simplify the logistics involved at distribution yards, because their system runs on electric trucks it aims to replace the more than 50,000 diesel polluting yard trucks throughout the U.S.  In an interview with Transport Topics, Smith elaborated on the three main components of his system.  “The first piece is a web-based interface that allows individuals to operate entire yards.  The second piece of the system is site infrastructure that allows them to operate the fully autonomous trucks.  The third piece is transforming exiting yard platforms.”  While consumers await the full results of the five tested yards, there is reason to be optimistic that the truck yard systems can be fully automated and as Smith says, done “with a click or swipe of your finger.”  As autonomy creeps into all market sectors, startup companies are racing to the be the first to occupy the space as the frontrunner within the industry.

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