November 18, 2020

Prologis partners with Outrider on the distribution yard of the future

Will O'Donnell

Managing Partner, Prologis Ventures

The future of logistics is tied intricately to automation, which has become a defining component of today’s fast-evolving supply chain. As the global leader in logistics real estate, with 976 million square feet of facilities in 19 countries on four continents, Prologis is uniquely positioned to tap into the power of our platform to stay ahead of what’s next. Our portfolio allows us to partner with our customers around the world to help drive efficiencies and manage rapidly evolving logistics operations and supply chain networks. We realize that it’s more important than ever to support our customers as they face numerous challenges, including those brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and increased demand from omnichannel and e-commerce.

Yards within distribution facilities are a critical component within global supply chain operations, but the associated workflows and technologies haven’t evolved much over the decades. This atmosphere of stagnation has resulted in repetitive manual tasks being performed in suboptimal and sometimes dangerous environments.

In our careful evaluation of the key players in the market, we realized that Outrider’s unmatched yard automation technology will provide a seamless connection between over-the-road trucking and warehouse operations. Outrider’s integrated three-part system includes management software, autonomous yard trucks, and site infrastructure. Furthermore, Prologis shares Outrider’s commitment to sustainable supply chain operations. By combining Prologis’ extensive logistics real estate services with Outrider’s expertise in industrial autonomy, we’re perfectly matched to collaborate on the design of next-generation distribution center yards.

Prologis believes that future distribution yards will be both electric and autonomous, which requires fresh thinking about yard layouts and site infrastructure. New layouts will help accommodate a more efficient and safer workflow, where over-the-road truck drivers can quickly drop off and pick up trailers. Site infrastructure, such as charging stations and low latency / high-bandwidth communications, will be the foundation of yard automation. These foundational technologies will allow the Outrider System to autonomously move trailers to and from loading docks and parking spaces, hitch and unhitch trailers, connect and disconnect trailer brake lines, and monitor trailer locations.

In addition, Prologis believes it is our responsibility as corporate citizens to address climate change by reducing our carbon footprint and improving supply chain sustainability. Currently, yard operations contribute 3.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, the equivalent of one coal-fired plant. According to the latest Prologis ESG impact report, published in the spring of 2020, 90% of Prologis’ top 25 customers have specific carbon-emissions reduction targets. Outrider transforms electric yard trucks supplied by all major OEMs into autonomous, zero-emission vehicles, and truly serves as the critical link between warehouses and over-the-road trucking.

In addition to our commercial collaboration, Prologis Ventures, the venture capital arm of Prologis, is also an investor in Outrider. Prologis Ventures invests in next-generation logistics and real estate technology companies. We believe that Outrider is a leader in the future of autonomous technology and sustainable supply chain operations. Through our partnership with Outrider, we are excited to create a logistics real estate future that looks safer, more efficient, and more sustainable.

Will O'Donnell, Managing Partner, Prologis Ventures

William (Will) O’Donnell leads Prologis Ventures, the company’s venture capital, innovation and corporate development division. With more than 22 years of experience in real estate and technology, he leads efforts to invest in cutting-edge technology for supply chain logistics and real estate. Will led Prologis’ investments in Outrider and serves as an observer on Outrider’s board of directors.

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