Two major players in the logistics industry are leading a group of companies investing millions in Phantom Auto, a fast-rising Silicon Valley company that has developed software enabling remote operation of forklifts and other material moving vehicles.
Phantom Auto software makes it possible for forklifts to be remotely operated from virtually anywhere in the world with strong internet connectivity. Operators located in off-site locations, including their homes, can operate multiple forklifts, making such jobs more convenient and attractive for potential hires.
ArcBest, a multi-billion dollar freight and logistics service provider, and NFI, one of the largest third-party logistics providers in North America, are the lead investors in a $42 million round of funding for Phantom Auto, the companies announced Wednesday.
The technology behind Phantom’s remote operation software delivers secure, low-latency communication over volatile and constrained wireless networks, enabling reliable sensor streaming and safe control of vehicle functions.
The goal isn’t to replace workers, NFI Chief Executive Sid Brown said, but to add capacity by having people work remotely, which he said would also help recruitment, including among people who like to play videogames.
The move comes as the supply chain and logistic industries continue to deal with a labor shortage that pre-dates the 2020 onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
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