Design Engineering

Canadian Tire, NuPort Robotics to commercialize automated semi trucks

By DE Staff   

Automation Automotive

Automated semi trailer technology to enable safer, greener and more efficient transport.

Jennifer Reardon, Associate VP, Transportation Integration and Ops Support at Canadian Tire. (Photo credit: Canadian Tire)

Canadian Tire and Toronto-based startup NuPort Robotics Inc. announced a partnership with the Ontario government to invest $3 million to develop automated semi trucks. The goal is to test short-haul shuttle runs, referred to as the middle mile, that semi-tractor trailers make daily between distribution centres, warehouses and terminals.

Backed by $1 million from Ontario’s Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN), plus $1 million from Canadian Tire and NuPort Robotics, respectively, the two-year project is applying NuPort Robotics’ AI technology to retrofit two conventional semi-tractor trailers.

(Photo credit: Nuport Robotics)

“The trucks are currently transporting goods between a Canadian Tire distribution centre in the Greater Toronto Area and nearby rail terminals within a 12.5 mile radius, and early results are promising” said Raghavender Sahdev, CEO of NuPort Robotics. “The aim of the project is to develop a system that incorporates an autopilot feature for conventional trucks with a driver, leading to the most efficient way to drive and increase safety. The sensors work as a ‘safety cocoon’ to cover blind spots and prevent accidents and the end result is peak fuel efficiency, meaning lower carbon emissions, and peak driving performance for an overall more optimal transportation experience.”

NuPort Robotic says its approach to autonomous trucking is unique in that it focuses on the middle mile, using a known set of predetermined trucking routes instead of general highway driving. When implemented on fixed routes, the company says Canadian Tire will benefit from faster commercial deployments and improvements in supply chain sustainability.



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