As the players in supply chain ecosystems continue to pursue digitalisation, the transformation turns to the warehouse yard – the enclosed area outside a warehouse where vehicles and transportation units are dealt with, waiting to be dealt with, or waiting to be collected by an external carrier.
The trend is driving the adoption of technologies to help track, allocate, and optimise assets in the yard. ABI Research forecasts that the installed base of artificial intelligence (AI) enabled cameras in the yard will reach 11.2 million globally by 2030, and the uptake of autonomous yard trucks will rise significantly at a global CAGR of 52.7% from 2022 to 2030.
“Yards surrounding warehouses, distribution centres, and manufacturing facilities are becoming the new stomping ground for established supply chain solution providers as they diversify into Yard Management Systems (YMS) and join a growing number of emerging companies focusing on automating yard trailer movements and live asset tracking.
In a bid to digitalise and update yard operations, instalments of yard systems, enabling tracking technologies, and autonomous tractors are expected to rise considerably in the short to medium term,” explains Ryan Wiggin, industry analyst at ABI Research.
To enable tracking and visibility of assets and workers in the yard, handheld devices and AI-enabled yard cameras will see increasing deployments in yards globally, growing at a CAGR of 13.0% and 14.8%, respectively, from 2022 to 2030.
Outrider, Phantom Auto, EasyMile, and Fernride are some of the few companies doubling down on yard automation, with small-scale deployments paving the way for wider commercial uptake in the coming years.
Wiggins says advancements in AI are breaking down many of the limitations faced by technologies in outdoor environments.
"Advanced computing power helps to process data from camera feeds, identify trailers and equipment, and guide autonomous vehicles safely. Where certain technologies couldn’t operate before, AI has helped unlock new use cases and will continue to drive solution adoption within yards."Ryan Wiggin