ArcBest announced the launch of autonomous forklifts and reach trucks that can also be operated remotely. Vaux Smart Autonomy is an extension of the company’s other warehouse freight management technologies. The autonomous mobile robot units are paired with software, allowing human operators to control them remotely. Mode settings for the units also allow autonomous and manual operations. Sensors and cameras allow the units to navigate a warehouse floor to load and stack pallets and to move other goods. A teleoperator control center monitors the units when they are operated autonomously.
Vaux Smart Autonomy can be used at existing warehouses, distribution centers, and manufacturing facilities. Last year, ArcBest announced a mobile platform — Vaux Freight Movement System — that can be fully loaded on a warehouse floor before being placed in a trailer. The unit significantly reduces the time it takes to handle freight on the dock, and its use minimizes damage as forklifts no longer need to enter a trailer. The two offerings are products of ArcBest’s $175 million annual technology and innovation budget. The Vaux suite of offerings is currently being piloted with manufacturing, automotive, and retail companies.
ArcBest chairman, president, and CEO, Judy McReynolds, stated: “Our commitment to innovation and ongoing investments in technology continue to drive ArcBest’s profitable growth and our customers’ success. As supply chains become increasingly complex, we are introducing transformational innovations to the market that help our customers achieve their financial and operational objectives.” Chief innovation officer at ArcBest and president of ArcBest Technologies, Michael Newcity, mentioned that businesses are facing material handling challenges, particularly when it comes to productivity, labor availability, and safety. He said that Vaux Smart Autonomy improves efficiencies, adds labor flexibility, and creates a safer working environment — even for companies with complex operations that traditionally have not been able to adopt autonomous technology.