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Outrider, a developer of autonomous yard operations for logistics hubs, released fully autonomous trailer backing capabilities to its fleet. The technology enables autonomous yard trucks to back trailers into tight spaces without modifications to trailers.
Outrider said articulated backing is one of the most challenging maneuvers in confined distribution yards. It claims the system autonomously back 28-foot, 48-foot, and 53-foot dry van trailers, containers, and refrigerated trailers without teleoperation or other types of human interaction.
“Outrider validated this proprietary technology at its Advanced Testing Facility and customer sites – running under multiple conditions, day and night,” said Jeremy Nett, VP of software engineering at Outrider. “This achievement is a result of a highly collaborative cross-functional effort across our perception, motion planning and controls, hardware, and test teams to develop and commercialize this technology.”
The Outrider System consists of three integrated parts — management software, autonomous vehicles, and site infrastructure. In addition to the articulated backing technology, the system can autonomously hitch to and unhitch from trailers, robotically connect and disconnect trailer brake lines, interact safely with loading docks, track trailer locations, and centrally manage and monitor all system functions.
“While other autonomous vehicle companies focus on safely pulling trailers down a highway, Outrider is focused on efficiently moving the world’s freight through congested distribution yards,” said Andrew Smith, founder and CEO of Outrider.. “With this backing technology, our customers can automate their distribution yards as they continue to respond to the global demand for their products.”
Outrider has partnered with multiple Fortune 500 companies and raised a total of $118M in funding since it was founded in 2017. Its $53 million Series A round closed in February 2020. Its $65 million Series B closed in October 2020.
Smith joined The Robot Report Podcast back in November 2020. While a lot has changed for Outrider since this podcast conversation, Smith discussed the company’s technology, how that segment of the supply chain can automate and general progress in self-driving vehicle technology. You can listen to that conversation below starting at the 42:42 mark.