Strategic partnership for automated logistics
Commercial vehicle manufacturer Krone and technology company Fernride cooperate for driverless transport solutions
In order to significantly advance the automation of logistics and transport solutions, especially in the area of trailers, the commercial vehicle specialist Krone, which is active throughout Europe, and Fernride, the innovation leader for autonomous & teleoperated transport solutions, have signed a strategic partnership. Within the framework of this cooperation, an automated trailer is to be developed that initially implements the automation of important secondary functions, such as the coupling process, the opening/closing of doors or the sensory environment analysis. In the transport process, the trained teleoperator can thus concentrate entirely on managing the autonomous vehicles assigned to him/her.
With a focus on yard and terminal logistics, both cooperation partners will gain relevant experience in a timely manner and bring emerging products to market maturity more quickly. In the medium term, the further developed technology will also be used in more complex application areas of the transport chain.
By complementing the different competences of both companies, this cooperation is a further relevant step in their respective strategic focus in the field of automation. Krone's international sales, service and data structures combined with Fernride's scalable platform technology for autonomous and teleoperated driving offer ideal conditions for the joint activities. The Krone Group is also underpinning the strategic partnership with a financial investment into Fernride.
"We were convinced by Fernride's motivated team and its technological approach. The company is already solving the real problem of driver shortages in pilot applications as a partner for its and thus for our joint logistics customers. With its system, Fernride offers global scaling opportunities in logistics and perhaps beyond," Bernard Krone, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Krone Group, comments on the new partnership.
Medium-sized company meets start-up for truck drivers from the office
The strategic partnership at eye level is a win-win situation for both companies: In addition to its strong international market position and production expertise in the commercial vehicle sector, Krone already has extensive experience in the field of autonomous driving in the agricultural machinery sector. The young company Fernride now complements the cooperation with its platform technology for autonomous and teleoperated driving, which enables a teleoperator to control an autonomous truck remotely. In scenarios where artificial intelligence for autonomous driving reaches its limits, a teleoperator can take over the control and thus secure the automated logistics process at any time. Thus, the highest possible service reliability can be guaranteed.
The start-up's scalable platform deliberately combines the human skills of "truck drivers" from the office with the autonomous driving technology available today. In this way, Fernride redefines the job of the driver and makes it fit for the future: The driver becomes an operator; a fleet manager who monitors highly automated machines and only intervenes in rare situations. The more attractive workplace and the fact that productivity can be increased by a factor of 50 in the future will counteract the ever-increasing driver shortage.
"We have recognized that the trailer will play a decisive role in the autonomous and electric logistics value chain. With Krone we have found an ideal - highly innovative partner - amongst the trailer manufacturers to jointly shape this future and bring it to the road even faster," says Hendrik Kramer, co-founder and CEO of Fernride.
Cross-sector cooperation for logistics
In addition to a development partnership with Terberg, the market leader for terminal tractors, as well as pilot and research projects with MAN on the ATLAS-L4 project for the automation of Hub2Hub scenarios on the truck side, Krone as a major commercial vehicle manufacturer is now also one of Fernride's partners to decisively and more quickly advance the automation of logistics. The existing cooperation with renowned connectivity providers such as Nokia and Telefonica also ensures the connectivity and expansion within the logistics industry that is critical for teleoperation.
Fernride is on the quest to solve the two fundamental problems of the trucking industry: In the EU alone, there is a lack of 400.000 truck drivers today, and 39% of the GHG-emissions in transportation are due to diesel-powered trucks. With Fernride, driver shortage and GHG-emissions will be a thing of the past. As an end-to-end solution provider for autonomous, electric trucking, Fernride accelerates the transformation of the logistics industry in a simple and seamless but for most people counterintuitive way: Fernride keeps humans – as so-called teleoperators - in the loop and lets them collaborate with state-of-the-art autonomous driving technology. Being the first on the market, Fernride pioneers automated, and sustainable logistics with leading customers like Volkswagen Group Logistics, DB Schenker or BSH. Our plug-and-play solution allows deploying trucks in revenue-generating, productive operations from day 1. Fernride was spun out in 2019 by Hendrik Kramer, Dr. Maximilian Fisser and Jean-Michael Georg after ten years of research at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and quickly attracted venture capital (>€10M 2021) from international Funds, and senior managers from the automotive and tech industry – becoming an European technology champion.
Caption: Hendrik Kramer, CEO and Founder Fernride GmbH, and Bernard Krone, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Krone Group, announce a strategic partnership during the IAA Transportation 2022 in Hanover.