The Traction Five: Supply Chain – Autonomous Shipping

Given the current logistics network crisis which is amplifying a persistent need to become more financially efficient in shipping, our customers are looking at innovative ways to transform their existing supply chain processes.  From freight management to warehouse automation to last mile delivery, every aspect is being evaluated to meet increasing demand while lowering costs and streamlining complex logistics.

During our work evaluating technologies that solve our clients’ most challenging needs, we come across many early-stage companies that surprise and delight us. Here are a few who have developed game-changing technologies in the area of Autonomous Shipping that we think are worth sharing, and could have a significant impact on your Supply Chain goals. 

This week’s Traction Five:

1 Einride: Einride develops and provides freight transport solutions based on electric and autonomous vehicles. Founded in 2016, they operate Europe’s largest fleet of electric trucks and work with industry giants including Coca-Cola, SKF, and Lidl.  Beyond their pod and flatbed vehicles, they also offer Saga, an AI platform allowing shippers to access a roadmap to cost competitive electrification and automation, order/track shipments, oversee routes and assignment, and visualize data to gain insights.

2 Embark: Embark has developed AI-based autonomous trucking solutions.  Existing truck fleets are retrofitted with their Universal Interface hardware, then utilize proprietary, cutting-edge mapping called Vision Map Fusion™ which relies on a sensors-first architecture that analyzes and responds to real-time perception data for decisions as opposed to stale mapping.  The fleet is then managed by Embark Guardian™ which gives carriers control over dispatch and management of their autonomous fleets.

3 Nuro: Specializing in developing zero-occupant, autonomous vehicles made specifically for transporting goods, Nuro has successfully provided delivery service for industry leaders including Domino’s, Kroger, and 7-Eleven, and announced a multi-year partnership with FedEx.  With a top-mounted 360-degree camera, thermal imaging, lidar, radar, and AI-based software, Nuro’s vehicles are completely street-legal and approved by the NHTSA.

4 Elroy Air: Elroy Air is developing the Chaparral, a hybrid-electric, VTOL, aerial vehicle that can carry 300-500 pounds of cargo over a 300-mile range.  The vehicle can land, deposit cargo, pick up another load, and take-off again, all in just a few minutes and without operator interaction. The Chaparral is designed to carry cargo in lightweight, aerodynamic pods which are pre-loaded by ground personnel, and picked up autonomously by the aircraft before takeoff.

5 Zipline: Zipline designs, manufactures, and operates the world’s largest automated drone-based delivery system.  Built originally for healthcare deliveries but since expanding to retail, their fully electric drones can travel up to 100 miles round trip, or 50 miles from distribution centers which are now worldwide. They have made over 350,000 deliveries to date including critical healthcare drops in rural regions such as Rwanda.

Working with early stage companies can of course deliver both practical and educational value, these technologies provide a glimps into new ways of thinking about your business and the “ art of the possible”.  love to hear what areas you are looking for solutions, happy to share some more of our findings. 

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We built Traction Technology to meet the needs of the most demanding customers, empowering individuals and teams to accelerate and help automate the discovery and evaluation of emerging technologies. Traction Technology speeds up the time to innovation at large enterprises, saving valuable time and money by accelerating revenue-producing digital transformation projects and reducing the strain on internal resources, while significantly mitigating the risk inherent in working with early-stage technologies.

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