Outrider Announces Trailer Inventory Tracking Technology to Increase Distribution Yard Efficiency

The new technology was designed to help customers better manage their goods.


Outrider has made their autonomous electric vehicles more useful by adding a new feature that allows customers to track in real-time where their shipments are going.

Outrider today released a new patent-pending technology that provides real-time tracking of trailers and containers in yards. With this enhanced visibility into asset and freight locations, logistics-dependent enterprises will increase the efficiency of their yard operations, said the Golden, Colo-based company said.  

Outrider provides autonomous yard technologies for the logistics industry. It said it uses technology already installed on its autonomous electric yard trucks to collect the locations of parked trailers during routine operations or as a dedicated function.

Sophisticated sensors and proprietary computer vision algorithms enabled by deep learning detect vacant or occupied parking spots, capture trailer identification numbers and standard carrier alpha codes (SCAC codes), as well as multiple other trailer characteristics.

Trailers can get lost in travel 

The company outlined the problem the new technology helps solve; Large distribution yards contain thousands of trailers that are moved many times for unloading, cleaning, loading, staging, and storage, it said.

As a result, trailers can easily be lost. Today, yard personnel – either on foot or by driving a vehicle – manually update trailer locations in the yard.

This data collection process is tedious, error-prone, and quickly outdated, which causes shipping delays especially when over-the-road truckers are unable to find their trailers.

“Misplaced trailers, containers, and chassis are a universal pain point of yard operations and over-the-road trucking,” said Andrew Smith, founder and CEO of Outrider. “This new technology will be celebrated by logistics center operators and the 3.5 million over-the-road semi-truck drivers in North America who waste hours each week looking for trailers. Our trailer inventory solution brings much-needed visibility and insight to maximize productivity and yard throughput.”

“Outrider’s automated trailer inventory uses a full stack of technologies to dynamically confirm trailer and container locations in distribution yards,” said Luciano Spinello, senior director of autonomy and artificial intelligence at Outrider. “As our autonomous vehicles operate in yards, they use computer vision to capture and relay trailer data into our state-of-the-art deep learning software models. Advanced algorithms process the data, turning it into valuable information for customers to streamline their yard operations.”

Trailer inventory is enabled, managed, and recorded in Outrider’s cloud-based management software, which helps yard dispatchers, warehouse operators, and transportation managers improve decision-making and overall efficiency. Outrider shares this real-time inventory with customers’ warehouse, yard, or transportation systems via its application programming interface (API).

Since its founding, Outrider said it has focused on automating the manual, repetitive tasks involved in yard operations. Trailer inventory management, a core piece of Outrider’s intellectual property, enables Outrider to deliver network-wide benefits to enterprise customers and third-party shippers, including optimizing traffic flows in and out of the yard and reducing dwell time of over-the-road semi-trucks.

Outrider hot off new capital funding

The commercial release of trailer inventory follows the announcement of multiple advanced yard technologies, including deep-learning based robotic brake line connections, high-precision articulated backing, and autonomous hitching for diverse trailer weights and orientations.

In January, Outrider raised $73 million in a Series C round, bringing its total funding to $191 million.

Outrider works with customers in industries, such as consumer packaged goods, retail and eCommerce, package shipping, manufacturing, and intermodal rail. Outrider was recognized in Fast Company’s prestigious 2022 World’s Most Innovative Companies list, placing in the top 10 in the logistics category.

With its customers representing over 20 percent of all yard trucks operating in North America, Outrider is a private company backed by NEA, 8VC, Koch Disruptive Technologies, FM Capital, and other top-tier investors. 

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