The Supply Chain Matters blog features our 12th in the year 2020 consolidated editions of This Week in Supply Chain Management Tech.
Since our last full edition published on September 11, the frequency of tech related announcements has subdued but seems to be picking up with the ongoing Fall technology conference season.
This series presents a brief synopsis of noteworthy supply chain management focused technology news which we believe would be of specific interest to our global-based blog readership.
Included in this edition are capsulated highlights of noteworthy announcements and/or developments from:
Volkswagen and TuSimple
Lineage Logistics Raises $1.6 Billion
Lineage Logistics, which describes itself as “the world’s largest and most innovative temperature controlled industrial REIT and logistics solutions provider’ has announced that the firm has raised $1.6 billion from a group of investors that include Oxford Properties Group, D1 Capital Partners, Cohen & Steers among various other exiting and new investors.
Lineage CEO and President Greg Lehmkuhl indicated in a statement: “As we reimagine the food supply chain and execute on our company purpose to eliminate waste and help feed the world, we remain focused on driving value for our more than 5,000 customers by operating globally and deploying industry-changing technologies to create efficiencies across our 320 facilities.”
According to the company’s announcement, during 2020, Lineage has announced 16 acquisitions and executed on 15 new expansions and greenfield facilities. The real-estate trust continues to develop what are described as: “A number of the world’s most advanced fully automated warehouses that will reduce environmental intensity, while providing flexible and expansive capacity for customers during a period where the global pandemic is putting acute strain on the global food supply chain. New capital will fuel these increasingly large investments.”
Lineage competes with rival Americold Realty Trust which reportedly controls 183 cold storage facilities.
Volkswagen Invests in Self-Trucking Self-Driving Technology provider TuSimple
The Wall Street Journal reports that Tanton Group, the trucking subsidiary of Volkswagen AG will work with self-driving technology start-up TuSimple to co-develop self-driving trucks in addition to taking an equity stake in the technology company. Tanton truck brands include Scania and MAN heavy duty trucks.
Founded in 2015, TuSimple operates a fleet of 36 heavy duty trucks operating in commercial service mainly in the U.S. Southwest. The company’s stated mission is in making long haul freight transportation safer, more efficient, and less expensive. While the trucks utilize autonomous technology, there is a human driver onboard. This technology provider’s plans call for the piloting of completing autonomous driving vehicles sometime in 2021.
According to the report, Tanton’s aim is to begin testing autonomous heavy-duty trucks in countries including Germany and Sweden. There were no stated financial specifics related to the TuSimple investment by Tanton.
This announcement follows an TuSimple agreement struck with. to jointly develop self-driving trucks, also with the U.S. truck producer taking an equity stake.
Seegrid Closes $52 Million Funding Round
Seegrid Corporation, a designer of self-driving industrial vehicles for supporting material handling, announced that the company has closed a $52 million a round of equity financing. This round was led by investor G2VP with additional funding from unnamed technology and robotics investors.
Seegrid’s technology is focused on the automated guided vehicle (AGV) and autonomous mobile robot (AMR) industry category. The company’s proprietary navigation technology uses cameras, sophisticated algorithms and machine learning to navigate in dynamic environments.
According to the announcement, Seegrid plans call for investing this additional capital to increase the size of its workforce to deliver best-in-class automation solutions for its customers. The investment will reportedly further accelerate new product development and new product introductions, as well as considerations for potential strategic acquisitions.
Boston Dynamics Plans to Enter Logistics Robotics Market Segment
According to a report published by TechCrunch, Boston Dynamics is just months away from announcing their entry into logistics-based robotics, the first real vertical it aims to enter, after proving their ability to build robots at scale. The company’s new CEO, Robert Playter, reportedly sees the company coming into its own after decades of experimentation.
Playter indicated to TechCrunch.: “We’ve always thought of robots as being able to go into dangerous places, but now danger has been redefined a little bit because of COVID. The pandemic is accelerating the sense of urgency and, I think, probably opening up the kinds of applications that we will explore with this technology.” Up to this point, Boston Dynamics has been designing robots for specific applications or use cases.
The report indicates that this specialized robotics designer is: “…poised to jump into the market with a very different robot — or rather robots — meant to help move boxes and other box-like items around in a very different way from the currently practical “autonomous pallet method.” The notion is described as having a team od robots working on specific process tasks.
Sente Foundry Announces Open Applications for Logistics Tech Investment Program
Sente Foundry, a Chicago based start-up investment, scouting and innovation platform firm, has announced a call for start-ups to participate in a Logistics Tech program taking place virtually from November 2020 thru January 2021.
According to the announcement, the program features an intense set of activities to analyze and evaluate participating startups, connect them with projects with LogisticsTech customers, and introduce them to an ecosystem of investors and service providers. Startups will work with the Sente team using a structured process that better prepares them to attract serious investors and customers and places them in a fast-moving, talented ecosystem of startups and industry leaders.
There are two phases of the program with the latter stage involving selection of up to five start-ups to join the program’s full version that includes monetary benefits.
Applicants can come from anywhere in the world and the application deadline is Monday, October 5.
For further information and to apply for the program, please visit Sente’s web site.
This concludes our latest edition of This Week in Supply Chain Management Tech.
An Added Note to Readers– Supply Chain Matters will feature our capsule views of This Week in Supply Chain Tech highlight series periodically as announcements warrant.
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