Automated Vehicles and the Cycle of Goods Movement

Autonomy at every step of the goods movement journey

The e-commerce boom and demand for faster delivery have pushed the trucking industry—in essence, the “middle mile” that first-/last-mile deliveries connect to—toward autonomous vehicles (AVs). With highly predictable routes and lack of cross traffic, interstates and limited access highways play to the strength of automation for long-haul trucking.

As the industry embraces autonomous trucks, businesses will need access to a new generation of strategically located logistics centers for unloading goods for local last-mile distribution and for refueling (or, increasingly, recharging) to get trucks back on the highway.

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Accelerating autonomy across the middle mile

We expect trucking will become the first area to deploy AV technology widely. It just makes sense. Consider the journey of a long-haul truck. It’s predominantly made up of interstates and limited access highways. This relatively simple path (as compared to a heavily populated urban road network) was made for automation. Couple that with historic driver shortages and huge benefits in safety and cost-savings, and we’ll see widespread adoption across these middle miles in the not-too-distant future.

Enhancing logistics through automation

With the trucking industry moving toward more widespread use of autonomous trucks, we’re anticipating demand for strategically sited logistics centers for loading and unloading goods and refueling or recharging. We’re working with our warehouse, distribution, and logistics team as well as key industry partners to provide a suite of turnkey services for these centers: identifying the best sites, handling all aspects of permitting them, and—because we understand the special requirements of AVs—planning and designing the centers as well.

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