Yard automation is part of Georgia-Pacific’s commitment to safety and supply chain efficiency.
Outrider, the pioneer in autonomous yard operations for logistics hubs, today announced that Georgia-Pacific, a leading manufacturer and distributor of consumer packaged goods, is the first company to perform autonomous yard operations in a production environment. Following a successful proof-of-concept deployment, Georgia-Pacific has utilized the Outrider System to complete more than 1,000 autonomous trailer moves as part of daily operations at its Chicagoland distribution center.
“Our company is constantly looking for opportunities to apply technology to create safer and more efficient operations,” says Paul Frederickson, who leads Georgia-Pacific’s Technology Solutions Group. “Outrider is an excellent technology partner helping us experiment, learn and transform our yard operations.”
A critical link in the supply chain, distribution yards serve to transition goods between warehouses or distribution centers and the open road. Yet, these yards are filled with repetitive, manual tasks frequently performed under inhospitable and inefficient conditions. Currently, over-the-road trucks spend roughly 10 million days in U.S. logistics yards waiting to drop off and pick up trailers.
Accelerated by increasing strains on the global supply chain, logistics-dependent enterprises like Georgia-Pacific are looking to automation to improve the safety and increase the efficiency of their distribution yards. One way yard automation improves the efficiency of yards is by reducing the wait time experienced by over-the-road trucks. For example, if yard automation reduces this wait time by just 10 percent, enterprises will be able to free up more than one million days’ worth of operations to keep freight moving.
“Georgia-Pacific recognizes that the next generation of distribution yards will include autonomous operations, making them an exceptional partner,” said Andrew Smith, Founder and CEO of Outrider. “Working together since the initial proof-of-concept stage, Georgia-Pacific has now integrated the Outrider System into part of its day-to-day distribution yard operations. This achievement results from hundreds of technical milestones achieved by the Outrider team over the past three years.”
The Outrider System autonomously moves trailers to and from loading docks and parking spots. Using proprietary technologies, the Outrider System hitches and un-hitches trailers, robotically connects and disconnects trailer brake lines, interacts with loading docks, tracks trailer inventory and locations, centrally manages and monitors all system functions, and integrates with supply chain management systems for streamlined operations. For example, Georgia-Pacific’s warehouse management system (WMS) sends trailer move requests to The Outrider System, which in turn executes those moves autonomously.
Based on Georgia-Pacific’s evaluation of the Outrider System, Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT) invested in Outrider, leading its Series B financing in October 2020. According to Byron Knight, Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director at KDT, “Outrider continues to be the industry leader in yard automation. Autonomously moving trailers in a production environment at Georgia-Pacific underscores how the Outrider System will be applied across the industry and set a new standard in modern distribution operations.”
This announcement underscores Outrider’s continued growth and product momentum. Outrider is working with 11 large priority customers representing more than 20% of the yard trucks in operation today in North America. Recently, the company announced the opening of the first-ever test facility dedicated to autonomous yard operations, as well as new tractor-trailer hitching technology. Outrider has raised a total of $118 million in capital, grown to more than 150 employees, filed extensive intellectual property, completed numerous pilot-deployment programs, and established a broad partner ecosystem. Gartner, Inc. recognized Outrider as a 2020 “Cool Vendor in Supply Chain Execution Technologies.”
Outrider, the pioneer in autonomous yard operations for logistics hubs, helps large enterprises improve safety and increase efficiency. The only company exclusively focused on automating all aspects of yard operations, Outrider eliminates manual tasks that are hazardous and repetitive. Outrider’s mission is to drive the rapid adoption of sustainable freight transportation by deploying zero-emission systems. Outrider is a private company backed by NEA, 8VC, Koch Disruptive Technologies, and other top-tier investors. For more information, visit www.outrider.ai