PITTSBURGH, Pa. – A pilot project between autonomous trucking start-up Locomation and U.S. fleet Wilson Logistics has gone so well, that Wilson said it will convert 1,120 of its trucks to the system.
The trucks will be retrofit with Locomation’s Autonomous Relay Convoy technology, with the first units delivered in early 2022, the companies say.
“We understand the importance of autonomous vehicle (AV) technology to the future of Wilson Logistics, and choosing our AV partner has been a deliberate process,” said Darrel Wilson, founder and CEO of Wilson Logistics. “In Locomation we see the most viable path to safe, rapid, and broad commercialization and we’re proud to make this purchase commitment.”
Locomation says the purchase order is the beginning of a significant leap forward for the entire trucking sector, calling it the world’s first large-scale autonomous truck purchase order.
In the summer, Wilson Logistics tested the platform, with two trucks hauling freight deployed as an autonomous relay convoy on a 420-mile route from Portland, Ore., to Nampa, Id. The driver in the lead truck drives while the following truck is fully autonomous. In the pilot, the following truck had a driver and engineer aboard.
“Working with the Wilson Logistics team, we defined road segments to maximize asset utilization by capitalizing on freight density in each lane which enables shippers and carriers to substantially increase their use of available capacity,” explained Tom Kroswek, head of business development at Locomation. “We then used our proprietary analysis methods to identify opportunities to optimize pricing to maximize yield per mile.”
Wilson will deploy the trucks in 37 of the 68 high-value lanes identified by Locomation. The company said it’s expecting a 30% reduction in operating cost per mile, including an 8% reduction in fuel consumption.
The two companies have extended a commercial agreement through 2028.