Outrider, a developer of autonomous yard solutions for logistics centres, has announced the release of TrailerConnect – a patented robotic system that can reportedly attach the needed brake and electric lines from yard trucks to any semi-trailers or chassis.
A deep-learning technology, TrailerConnect can now be integrated into the existing Outrider System, which automates distribution applications for the yards of logistics centres.
In distribution yards, yard trucks move trailers from dock doors to parking spots and public roads. To do so means truck drivers need to connect pressurised brake lines to trailers to release the parking brake and transport the trailers across the yard.
This manual task can be dangerous, and means that the driver needs to frequently get in and out of the cab.
“Outrider is reinventing the modern distribution yard to be more efficient, safer, and sustainable, and we are delivering the breakthrough technology like TrailerConnect to do it,” said Andrew Smith, CEO and founder of Outrider.
“TrailerConnect automates a dangerous task traditionally performed over 6 billion times annually worldwide.
“Four years of development and close partnerships with our priority customers has resulted in a technology integral to autonomously moving freight.”
What’s more, the coupling devices used to connect the brake and electric lines from truck to trailer often vary, meaning there are many configurations and placements across fleets.
As a solution to this, Outrider claims it TrailerConnect makes use of proprietary software algorithms, hardware and sensors integrated onto the Yaskawa Motoman robots, meaning it can carry out applications without modifications or adapters.
“Outrider understood it would be infeasible to modify entire trailer fleets to address the diversity of connections,” said Matt Johannes, VP of hardware engineering and robotics at Outrider.
“To automate yards, we brought together an exceptional team with expertise in robotics, perception, and deep learning to ensure safer, more efficient autonomous yard operations.”
Outrider’s other yard automation solutions are designed to complete a range of tasks, including autonomous, zero-emission trailer moves, high-precision autonomous articulated backing and autonomous hitching for diverse trailer weights and orientations.