AI and autonomous trucks taking over yard duties

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by Emily Atkins

Bringing yards up to speed with warehouse and transport digitization is driving the adoption of established supply chain technologies to help track, allocate, and optimize assets in the yard.

According to global technology intelligence firm ABI Research, the installed base of Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabled cameras in the yard will reach 11.2 million globally by 2030, and the uptake of autonomous yard trucks will rise significantly at a global CAGR of 52.7 percent from 2022 to 2030.

“Yards surrounding warehouses, distribution centres, and manufacturing facilities are becoming the new stomping ground for established supply chain solution providers as they diversify into Yard Management Systems (YMS) and join a growing number of emerging companies focusing on automating yard trailer movements and live asset tracking. In a bid to digitize and update yard operations, installments of yard systems, enabling tracking technologies, and autonomous tractors are expected to rise considerably in the short to medium term,” explained Ryan Wiggin, Industry Analyst at ABI Research.

Blue Yonder, Körber, and FourKites are adding YMS to their extensive software portfolio, joining more focused yard solution vendors such as Kaleris and C3 Solutions. To enable tracking and visibility of assets and workers in the yard, handheld devices and AI-enabled yard cameras will see increasing deployments in yards globally, growing at a CAGR of 13.0 percent and 14.8 percent, respectively, from 2022 to 2030.

Established providers Advantech, Honeywell, and Zebra will lead the rise in handheld devices, while Blue Yonder, Peripass, and Robovision are pioneering AI-enabled yard camera systems.

Autonomous and teleoperated yard trucks remain nascent, but recent investment rounds, partnerships, and successful proof-of-concept (POC) projects indicate an interest and use case for the technology. Outrider, Phantom Auto, EasyMile, and Fernride are some of the few companies doubling down on yard automation, with small-scale deployments paving the way for wider commercial uptake in the coming years.

“Advancements in AI are breaking down many of the limitations faced by technologies in outdoor environments. Advanced computing power helps to process data from camera feeds, identify trailers and equipment, and guide autonomous vehicles safely. Where certain technologies couldn’t operate before, AI has helped unlock new use cases and will continue to drive solution adoption within yards,” Wiggins concluded.

These findings are from ABI Research’s Yard Digitalization Market Data report.