Locomation Inc., which hoped to develop autonomous truck relay convoys, is closing its doors after running out of money, according to media reports.
The Pittsburgh-area startup did not respond to requests for comment on reports in local media about its demise. An industry analyst told FreightWaves he has been contacted by laid-off Locomation employees about other job prospects.
Most of the estimated 122 employees at Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania-based Locomation were expected to be laid off by Friday, according to an unidentified employee quoted by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The inability to raise additional investment capital was the reason given for the company’s closure, the newspaper said. According to PitchBook, Locomation had raised $105 million since its founding in 2018. That included $15 million in October 2022.
“Obviously, we’re super disappointed; we do feel like we had all the right pieces in place,” Finch Fulton, Locomation vice president of policy and strategy, told the Pittsburgh Business Times.
‘Smart people and a very strategic approach’
“We had really smart people and a very strategic approach. … We have customers in the product market that we just, for a number of macroeconomic reasons, were unable to raise money to continue operations and to progress further to be able to get the product ready for commercial operation.”
Locomation pursued a platooning approach for heavy-duty trucks that would allow a lead truck with a safety driver to be followed by a second truck with the driver resting or doing other work.
By swapping the drivers at the end of an 11-hour allowable shift, Locomation could safely operate two trucks for up to 22 hours per day while remaining in compliance with hours-of-service regulations. Locomation said it expected to eventually remove the drivers from the trucks.
The company had attracted significant interest from carriers. In August, Stevens Trucking Co. reached an eight-year agreement to use Locomation’s autonomous relay convoys to operate up to 500 trucks on specific interstate lane segments in the next five years. Financial terms were undisclosed.
Locomation previously signed contracts with Wilson Logistics, PGT Trucking and Christenson Transportation.
Locomation gets 8-year deal with Stevens Trucking for autonomous convoys
Locomation claims huge improvements in emissions and fuel savings
Locomation convoy plan doubles down on autonomous trucking challenge
Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.