Wilson Logistics to pilot automated convoy technology

Wilson Logistics will be pilot testing new autonomous technology from Locamation.Wilson Logistics will be pilot testing new autonomous technology from Locamation.

Wilson Logistics, a family-owned transportation and logistics company based in Springfield, Mo., will soon be using a platooning technology that will allow its drivers in trailing vehicles to go off duty while in motion.

The company is partnering with Locomation, a trucking technology platform that offers human-guided autonomous convoying. The agreement is for a three-year pilot test and will put Locomation’s autonomous technology on the road across several critical Wilson Logistics shipping routes.

Locomation will employ its Autonomous Relay Convoy (ARC) technology on 11 separate Wilson Logistics ARC segments. ARC allows one driver to pilot a lead truck equipped with technology augmentation while a follower truck operates in tandem through Locomation’s fully autonomous system. This allows the follower driver to log off and rest during this time.

Each ARC segment is engineered for maximum yield by Locomation’s business operations team headed by industry veteran Tom Kroswek.

“Our work with Locomation will mark a significant step forward for Wilson Logistics,” said Darrel Wilson, chairman and CEO of Wilson Logistics. “Not only will we improve asset utilization and network efficiency, but we’ll make great strides in reducing our energy spend while improving safety. It also makes the truck a much better place to work for our team of professional truck drivers.”

The deal is part of Wilson Logistics’ initiative to improve the driver experience while boosting profitability through technology.

Locomation will provide a two-truck convoy with safety staff and will work in tandem with the Wilson Logistics operations team to execute the most efficient freight movements possible. The company says that full commercialization of Locomation’s autonomous vehicle technology is expected to produce an estimated 33% reduction in operating cost per mile, 8% reduction in fuel expense, and remove 41 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the air per tractor annually.

The initial commercialization phase will build up to 124 trucks before ultimately expanding to more than 2,000 ARC-equipped trucks from multiple fleets.

“We couldn’t be more excited about this partnership,” said Dr. Çetin Meriçli, CEO and co-founder of Locomation. Çetin is one of five members of Locomation’s founding team who built highly advanced autonomous vehicle systems during their time together at Carnegie Mellon’s National Robotics Engineering Center.

“We’ve built our ARC technology stack and network strategy to leverage the value of long-established trucking routes and systems. Wilson Logistics is a perfect fit for our first pilot program.”

Tom Kroswek, Locomation’s head of network engineering, added, “Locomation identifies the most conducive freight activities to produce the highest yield possible, while achieving more than 20 hours of equipment utilization with full integration into the customer’s transportation

management systems. This approach enables us to fully implement the technology into the customer’s organization in a way that delivers sustainable results.”

Locomation trucks are expected to begin operations at Wilson Logistics in the spring of 2020. At peak implementation the agreement is expected to operate more than 62 two-truck convoys on 11 ARC segments throughout the United States. The next phase in the partnership anticipates delivering more than 1,000 two-truck convoys representing more than 2,000 ARC-equipped trucks operating on more than 68 ARC segments nationwide.