2020 was the year that brought sweeping changes to the way we live, work, and run businesses. The circumstances created by the pandemic drove home the importance of digitization and automation for smooth operations. Many logistics companies, like ConGlobal, took this cue and began scaling technologies like AI, remote operations, and automation to increase throughput, responsiveness, and asset utilization.

Our partnership with Phantom Auto

Before closing out 2020, we announced our strategic partnership with Phantom Auto. Phantom is the leading remote operation software provider that enables humans to operate all industrial and logistics equipment remotely. Shortly after that announcement, we took delivery of our first drive-by-wire truck. Then we began using our North American depot network as a sandbox environment to deploy remote operations and distanced driver training.

“From the very beginning, we’ve been very intentional about how we would scale our remote operations,” shared Brett Rogers, ConGlobal’s VP of Advanced Solutions. “Yard trucks operate in dynamic, complex environments, and the current autonomous technologies cannot account for every possible scenario the vehicle might encounter. An infinite number of edge cases could arise and render the autonomous solution inoperable.”

Instead, ConGlobal has adopted a remote-first approach.

In our remote-first approach, a human operator controls and executes all aspects of the yard truck’s workflow. The remote operator can be at the same site as the truck or fully remote because the video feeds from the cameras mounted on the vehicle provide situational awareness to the driver’s console.

Remotely operating a yard truck from the console

Unlike autonomous systems, which often only address portions of the workflow, our approach provides immediate value by managing the entire workflow, including edge cases. Adopting a remote-first approach allows us to match the maturity of evolving technology to the specific needs of the operation, and honor site and corporate priorities.

A faster path to ROI

In addition to providing a shorter path to ROI, our remote-first approach creates the potential to realize additional efficiencies when automation is eventually deemed appropriate.

Focusing on human-centric remote operation first and then adding incremental, opportunistic automation propels our program forward. We can effortlessly scale remote operations to new sites and handle scenarios and edge cases with standardized processes and repeatable results. As we take delivery of new equipment, we can quickly commission the truck with minimal planning, and because our workflows are virtually identical to manually operated trucks, onsite or remote employees onboard in a snap.

If you’re interested in learning more about our remote operations, please reach out to Brett Rogers or Matt Kozar on LinkedIn.