Autonomous freight yard technology provider Outrider today launched an automated tractor-trailer hitching system, saying the product could help boost efficiency in the constant re-positioning of trailers around distribution yards.
Golden, Colorado-based Outrider says the tool enables its autonomous yard trucks to optimally align in front of semi-trailers, back under the trailer, and attach the fifth wheel (the connection point of the truck) to the kingpin (the connection point on the trailer) with extreme precision.
“Most autonomous trucking companies are focused on moving trailers down long stretches of public roads. Outrider is focused on moving trailers in distribution yards, where autonomous hitching technology is critical to automating the entire operation,” Outrider Founder and CEO Andrew Smith said in a release. “There is an endless array of slight differences in trailer position and configuration when a truck connects to a trailer. Outrider’s engineers have built groundbreaking technology that adapts in real-time to hitch to trailers of diverse heights, weights, and orientations.”
The firm will now add the automated hitching capability to its “Outrider System” platform, which consists of management software, autonomous vehicles, and site infrastructure. Together, the firm says that system hitches to and un-hitches from trailers, robotically connects and disconnects trailer brake lines, interacts safely with loading docks, tracks trailer locations, and centrally manages and monitors all system functions.
The product launch follows two funding rounds in 2020, when Outrider raised $65 million and $53 million in two separate moves.
Check out how autonomous hitching makes yard automation possible – first-of-its-kind tech from Outrider! https://t.co/jNYQZWUxDY#trailerhitching #autonomy #zeroemissions #outrider pic.twitter.com/u3YhEkLPqc— Outrider (@OutriderTech) July 27, 2021
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