November 23, 2021 - D Magazine

ITS ConGlobal SVP on the future of remote trucking and supply chain issues

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ITS ConGlobal is rolling out remote trucking operations within the AllianceTexas Mobility Innovation Zone. Powered by PhantomAuto, the partnership enables workers to train and operate heavy machinery remotely.

Leveraging artificial intelligence and remote automation, Rene Etcharren, ITS ConGlobal senior vice president and director general, believes remote operations is the future of safe industrial work.

D CEO: What benefits does remote trucking have economically, environmentally, and logistically over traditional trucking?

ETCHARREN: “We operate in complex, industrial terminal environments, making human insight and control of our equipment critical to workplace safety and operational productivity. Phantom gives our truck operators control to execute maneuvers anywhere, as if on-site.

“Using Phantom’s remote operation software, our yard truck drivers can operate more than one piece of equipment. For example, a driver can make a single move with one piece of equipment at site A and then park the equipment. Next, they can remote into another piece of equipment at site B. This operational flexibility has a tremendous impact in terms of service reliability, safety, and cost control.

“The remote operation workflows will enhance our labor productivity resulting in substantial efficiency, increased vehicle utilization and improved workplace safety.”

D CEO: Can you touch on the future of remote trucking and AI and how ITS ConGlobal remote trucking will help alleviate supply chain issues?

ETCHARREN: “A key contributor to today’s supply chain challenges is the mismatch between consumer demand and the availability of a workforce in each leg of the supply chain. Warehouse and distribution center employees process the cargo inside the containers and trailers. The work we do at ITSC is an integral part of moving freight to and from those warehouses and distribution centers. While WH and DC employees work inside, our employees work outside, around the clock, in all types of environments. Using remote truck operations allows us to create a similar environment to WH and DC operations. We can bring operators inside from the outdoor production environment, which helps us attract and retain employees that might not otherwise see themselves as industrial equipment operators.”

D CEO: What sets the Mobility Innovation Zone platform apart and how does it help push the needle toward increased worker safety and efficiency?

ETCHARREN: “Innovation isn’t driven only by devices and code; it’s the process of taking ideas from inception to impact. ITS ConGlobal believes there is no better place than the MIZ to execute this process and move supply chain leaders such as ourselves from research and development, to testing and deploying our technology solutions. The AllianceTexas MIZ’s multi-modal platform is helping us commercialize and scale Phantom’s remote operation platform, optimize our AI-infused advanced gate operations system,, create operational playbooks with our proprietary, predictive load planning algorithm, and harness equipment telematics for improved fleet utilization and driver safety.”