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Pairing Autonomous Vehicles with Supply Chain Operations: IIoT Logistics Solutions, Courtesy of Venti Technologies

By Alex Passett
April 05, 2023

Every year, trillions of dollars’ worth of goods flow through the global supply chain and thousands of industrial hubs. (i.e. warehouses and factories, seaports and airports, steel and coal plants, depots, etc.) Through them pass technologies and electronics, metals, refined minerals, stone and glass, textiles and clothing; too many to satisfactorily list. (I did, however, peruse the World Integrated Trade Solution, or WITS, website for fun and found many interesting traded goods statistics.)

I digress. These hubs, like any nexus of such enormity, face critical challenges in need of robust solutions; supply disruptions, driver shortages and worker safety concerns, just to name a few of these must-face challenges. This is where, as expected, logisticians enter the fray.

However – and this is the shining question asked in every industry in order to magnify efficiencies – what about automation? Where and how can automation relieve manual input and output? What operational scalability benefits can be leveraged?

This is a great entry point for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), select autonomous vehicles and, related to this particular story, news from autonomous logistics company Venti Technologies.

Here’s the lowdown:

Mere days ago, Venti Technologies announced that it had secured nearly $29 million ($28.8 million, to be more exact) in a Series A financing round led by LG Technology Ventures, the venture capital arm of LG Group (with participation from other investors like Safar Partners, UOB Venture Management, Alpha JWC and LDV Partners).

What is the goal for the successful funding?

In short, the goal is to fast-track Venti’s growth and to meet the rise in global demand.

In a bit more detail, it’s slated for the continual building of Venti’s logistics software, to partner with third-party entities for autonomous vehicle hardware, and for securing future supply chain opportunities.

For any unfamiliar, Venti’s full-scope autonomy solutions, quote, “require zero changes to existing infrastructure and work with any vehicle, and in any logistics or industrial hub.”

So while society has yet to hit total-adoption levels for fully autonomous vehicles on our streets, nonpublic environments can be (and are) testing grounds. For instance, Venti has spent three years of development in a large container port; there, the company’s autonomous fleets have navigated complex, heavy-traffic environments with, “unmatched precision.” (Reportedly, even the ability to park bulky 45-foot tractor-trailers down to single inches.)

And, to no surprise, Venti’s target customers are those in a wide range of supply chain businesses with industrial hubs that are indispensable to their operations.

While researching this, I came across a quote from TechCrunch+ author Ingrid Lunden that backed this up. “Venti’s bet,” Lunden wrote, “is that despite high prices associated with self-driving vehicles, a market that generates billions in revenues annually will likely pay up because it will certainly pay off for them in the long term.”

Another strategic point in Venti’s corner is that, in closed environments like these hubs, the variables are more manageable; they’re finite, definable (i.e. unlike sprawling city streets) and see tasks carried out at slower speeds, which makes it much easier to correct errors minor or critical, if necessary. (For stakeholders, this allocation of funding is seen as safer, too.)

“With this new round of funding,” said Heidi Wyle, CEO of Venti Technologies, “we are well-positioned to broadly deploy our autonomous logistics solutions to power safer and more efficient global supply chains and industrial yards. With tight, industrial-grade precision in everyday operating environments, our vehicles have already proven to be successful. We have the potential here to revolutionize goods transportation, and we are excited to work with partners around the world to continue making our vision a reality.”

For 2024, it’s been reported that Venti will have another big port manufacturer in their sights for production-grade vehicles, as well. But in the meantime, Venti looks to aid customers in global supply chain markets with truly mature solutions that require near-driverless* deployment. (*A human pilot is involved to further assure safety.)

Per Anshul Agarwal, Managing Director at aforementioned investor LG Technology Ventures, “Venti is solving real-world problems for customers in huge markets with technology we are highly impressed by, as it’s able to safely and rapidly provide value to customers from a world-class team.”

Edited by Greg Tavarez
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