A startup based in Oregon says that they’ve successfully completed a first-of-its-kind delivery of commercial freight using autonomous convoy technology.
The announcement came from Portland-based company Locomation in partnership with Springfield, Missouri-based Wilson Logistics on August 12.
Locomotion describes how the technology was deployed to haul a load more than 400 miles from Portland to Tampa, Idaho:
In this phase of the deployment, two Locomation trucks, hauling Wilson Logistics trailers and freight, were deployed as an Autonomous Relay Convoy (ARCTM) on a 420 mile long route that stretched from Portland, OR to Nampa, ID along I-84, which has some of the most challenging road conditions in terms of curvatures, grades, and wind gusts. ARCTM is Locomation’s unique, proprietary approach to autonomous trucking. ARCTM allows one driver to pilot a lead truck equipped with technology augmentation while a follower truck operates in tandem through Locomation’s fully autonomous system. This allows the follower driver to log off and rest during this time. Each ARCTMsegment is engineered for maximum yield and utilization by Locomation’s business operations team.
Locomotion says a qualified truck driver and safety engineer were inside both trucks during the operation.
“The successful kickoff of this commercial agreement with Wilson Logistics is a significant milestone for our teams,” said Dr. Çetin Meriçli, CEO and Co-Founder of Locomation. “Despite the threat of COVID-19, we delivered real world results for the most advanced, efficient, and safest solution to make commercial autonomous trucking a reality. Most importantly, the pilot strongly proved that our autonomous technology can be integrated seamlessly and deployed within a real trucking operation in a sustained fashion.”
Locomotion says that the autonomous technology is expected to deliver an estimated 30% reduction in operating cost per mile, including 8% reduction in fuel consumption, and remove over 40 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the air per convoy annually.
Locomotion and Wilson plan to operate 124 ARC equipped tractors in two-truck convoys on 11 routes throughout the United States at peak implementation. The ultimate goal will be to deploy more than 1,000 two-truck convoys on 68 routes nationwide.