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Outrider opens ‘industry’s first’ test site dedicated to distribution yard automation

Outrider, the startup company pioneering autonomous yard operations for logistics hubs, has opened the Outrider Advanced Testing Facility, which it says is “the first-ever test site dedicated to distribution yard automation technologies”.

Located in Brighton, Colorado, this 200,000-square-foot distribution yard with 49 dock doors operates 16 hours per day, five days per week and will expand to 24-hour operation in 2022.

This test facility is being used to validate Outrider’s autonomous capabilities, supporting the scaling of deployments at customer sites.

Distribution yards are a critical link in the supply chain where goods are transitioned from warehouses or production facilities to the open road.

Yet, these yards are filled with repetitive, manual tasks oftentimes performed in inhospitable conditions. Accelerated by today’s strains on the global supply chain, logistics-dependent enterprises are urgently looking to automation to increase the efficiency and improve the safety of these yards.

Andrew Smith, founder and CEO at Outrider, says: “Outrider’s new Advanced Testing Facility mimics the distribution yards of our Fortune 500 customers.

“Operating our yard automation technologies under real-world conditions at both our test site and customer sites enables Outrider to deliver the most reliable and robust yard automation solution in the market. At this new facility, the Outrider System also completes end-of-line testing and calibration before shipping to our customers.”

(Watch the video below for an interview with Andrew Smith, founder and CEO at Outrider.)

Outrider is working with nine large enterprise customers in logistics-heavy industries, such as Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG), retail and e-commerce, manufacturing, package shipping, and intermodal rail. Outrider outgrew its test facility in Golden, Colorado, and needed a larger, dedicated industrial space to support the company’s rapid growth.

Richard Bishop, advisor and expert for autonomous vehicle strategy and partnerships, says: “Outrider is the only company in the industry with a test site dedicated to distribution yard automation technologies.

“With a test site that replicates real-world distribution yards, Outrider has a competitive leg up for delivering this supply-chain critical technology to enterprises.”

Inside the facility, Outrider uses the 152,000-square-foot warehouse space to assemble its Outrider System, which includes converting electric yard trucks into Level 4 autonomous vehicles operating on its proprietary software. Outrider’s headquarters will remain in Golden, Colorado.

The Outrider System autonomously moves trailers to and from loading docks and parking spots. Using proprietary technologies, the Outrider System hitches and unhitches trailers, robotically connects and disconnects trailer brake lines, interacts with loading docks, tracks trailer inventory and locations, and centrally manages and monitors all system functions.

To advance its mission to commercialize sustainable freight transportation, Outrider is working with multiple Fortune 500 companies, raised a total of $118 million in funding, grown to more than 140 employees, filed extensive intellectual property, completed numerous pilot programs, and established a broad partner ecosystem. Outrider was recognized by Gartner, as a 2020 Cool Vendor in Supply Chain Execution Technologies.

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