What’s happening: Volvo Autonomous Solutions (V.A.S.) has signed a collaboration agreement with Ascend, a Texas-based carrier, to reserve autonomous freight capacity on the V.A.S. network. The partnership will allow Ascend to purchase autonomous freight capacity on the V.A.S. network once it becomes available.
Why it matters: This collaboration is an important milestone for the development of autonomous trucking, as it allows V.A.S. to gain insights about carrier needs and create a commercially-viable solution that addresses the capacity constraints, safety concerns and labor shortages in the industry. The partnership will focus on hub-to-hub trucking for accelerated deployment, which is a key element for offering scalable autonomous freight capacity.
- Ascend is the first carrier to join V.A.S.’s reservation program.
- The partnership will help V.A.S. to better understand carrier needs and create a tailored solution that addresses the challenges in the transport industry.
- The companies will collaborate on a pre-study to define technical and operational requirements for Ascend to be onboarded to V.A.S.’s autonomous freight network, which will initially run between Dallas Fort Worth to El Paso and Dallas to Houston.
- V.A.S. will complete the long-haul portion of the transport mission using autonomous trucks, while Ascend drivers will pick up the goods again at the hub and deliver them to their destination.
- The Autonomous Transport Solutions (ATS) offered by V.A.S. is based on a Transport as a Service model and encompasses the entire hardware, software and services required to provide scalable autonomous freight capacity for highway applications.
- V.A.S. has launched a reservation program intended for shippers, carriers, logistics providers, and freight brokers, in order to better understand their needs and give them the possibility to be early adopters of autonomous transport solutions.
Bottom line: The partnership between V.A.S. and Ascend is an important step towards the development of autonomous trucking, as it allows V.A.S. to gain insights into carrier needs and create a commercially-viable solution that addresses the challenges in the transport industry. By focusing on hub-to-hub trucking for accelerated deployment, the companies can offer scalable autonomous freight capacity that meets the needs of carriers and addresses the biggest challenges in the industry.