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Autonomous yard trucking startup Outrider comes out of stealth with $53 million in funding

Autonomous yard trucking startup Outrider comes out of stealth with $53 million in funding

The 400,000 distribution yards located in the U.S. are critical hubs for the supply chain. Now one startup is aiming to make the yard truck — the centerpiece of the distribution yard — more efficient, safer and cleaner, with an autonomous system.

Outrider, a Golden, Colo. startup previously known as Azevtec, came out of stealth Wednesday to announce that it has raised $53 million in seed and Series A funding rounds led by NEA and 8VC. Outrider is also backed by Koch Disruptive Technologies, Fraser McCombs Capital, warehousing giant Prologis, Schematic Ventures, Loup Ventures and Goose Society of Texas.

Outrider CEO Andrew Smith said distribution yards are ideal environments to deploy autonomous technology because they’re well-defined areas that are also complex, often chaotic and with many manual tasks.

“This is why a systems approach is necessary to automate every major task in the yard,” Smith said.

Outrider has developed a system that includes an electric yard truck equipped with a full stack self-driving system with overlapping suite of sensor technology such as radar, lidar and cameras. The system automates the manual aspect of yard operations, including moving trailers around the yard as well as to and from loading docks. The system can also hitch and unhitch trailers, connect and disconnect trailer brake lines, and monitor trailer locations.

The company has two pilot programs with Georgia-Pacific and four Fortune 200 companies in designated sections of their distribution yards. Over time, Outrider will move from operating in specific areas of these yards to taking over the entire yards for these enterprise customers, according to Smith.

“Because we’re getting people out of these yard environments, where there’s 80,000 pound vehicles, we’re delivering increased efficiency,” Smith told TechCrunch in a recent interview. That efficiency is not just in moving the trailers around the yard, Smith added. It also helps move the Class 8 semi trailers used for hauling freight long distances through the system and back on the road quickly.

“We can actually reduce the amount of time the over-the-road guys are stuck sitting at a yard trying to do a pickup or drop-off,” Smith said.

Smith sees a big opportunity to demonstrate the responsible deployment of autonomy as well as clean up yards filled with diesel-powered yard trucks.

“If there was ever a location for near-term automation and electrification of the supply chain, it’s here,” he said. “Our customers and suppliers understand there’s a big opportunity for these autonomy systems to accelerate the deployment of 50,000 plus electric trucks in the market because they are a superior platform for automation.”

Booknetic Review: A Polished WordPress Appointment Booking Plugin

Booknetic Review: A Polished WordPress Appointment Booking Plugin

Need to accept appointment bookings on your WordPress site? In this Booknetic review, we’ll take a look at a new’ish WordPress appointment booking plugin.

Booknetic excels if you’re just looking for something that’s going to work and look great right out of the box. It has a user-friendly, modern interface on both the front-end and backend and it offers paid bookings, easy booking management, a custom booking form builder, and more.

Keep reading and we’ll take a hands-on look at everything this appointment booking plugin has to offer.

Booknetic Review: The Feature List

Booknetic provides a polished booking experience right out of the box. Overall, I was impressed by both the frontend and backend interfaces.

To set up your appointment options, you can add as many locations, staff members, and services as needed.

To control availability, you can set up:

Working hours Holidays Buffer times Etc.

If you want

Quickly & Easily Build Popups with WP Popups Pro

Quickly & Easily Build Popups with WP Popups Pro

Your WordPress site is an important asset to your business. However, like many marketers, you might struggle with figuring out how to use it to generate leads and drive conversions.

Adding a pop-up feature on your site is an effective and simple way to boost engagement and capture leads. Plus, it’s as easy as adding a plugin such as WP Popups!

In this article, we’ll explain what the WP Popups plugin is and the benefits of using it. Then we’ll discuss some of the WP Popups Pro features and how they work. Let’s get started!

An Introduction to WP Popups

WP Popups is a WordPress plugin that lets you quickly and easily build popups on your website. Active on over 70,000 sites, it’s one of the most popular popup plugins available for WordPress sites.

The popup maker comes with an intuitive interface and template builder. You can use

Making Friends With Google Using WordPress Themes Like Netflix

Making Friends With Google Using WordPress Themes Like Netflix

The history of the film takes us back to the past centuries, as the first movie appeared in 1895. Although they already used so-called special effects, TV got its popularity later. It happened only in the 1950s when different TV shows become trendy. A lot of water under the bridge, but the cinema becomes more and more popular.

That’s why today, many users search for Netflix WordPress themes. Are you one of them? In this case, don’t stop reading. This post will tell you about must-have features. Still, before we get started, I’d like you to check out the next statistics.

Here is what we saw in 2019: Almost 95% of negative site feedback happens because of poor web design. Slow-loading projects cost their owners £1.73 billion per year in lost sales. 47% of prospects expect a maximum loading time of 2-3 seconds. 89% of today’s users wouldn’t return

WP Popups Review: A Flexible, Free WordPress Popups Plugin

WP Popups Review: A Flexible, Free WordPress Popups Plugin

Popups are a versatile option to have in your WordPress toolkit. You can use them to promote products or offers, grow your email list, create a better user experience, plus a whole lot more.

In our WP Popups review, we’ll be looking at a relaunch of a popular plugin that lets you create all different kinds of popups, target them with detailed display rules, and hook them up to a ton of external services if needed.

Specifically, WP Popups is a relaunch of the Popups plugin from the same developer. Because the developer made so many changes, he opted to launch the new version as a separate plugin. So while the active install count for WP Popups is still only 1,000 sites at the time that we’re writing this, it’s closely tied to one of the more popular and better-rated popup plugins at WordPress.org.

One of the standout features

The CIA wants to upgrade its cloud tech without DoD’s JEDI drama

The CIA wants to upgrade its cloud tech without DoD’s JEDI drama

The CIA is ready to update its cloud technology, and multiple reports this week indicated that the agency has begun a multi-billion-dollar procurement process. A CIA spokesperson was tight-lipped when asked to confirm.

That could be because an agency used to working in secret simply wants to avoid all the attention that the Pentagon’s JEDI cloud procurement process got, and quietly go about its business. As we’ve learned, when you’re dealing with large cloud vendors like Amazon, Microsoft, IBM and Oracle, and the contract involves billions, fireworks tend to follow.

What we do know is that the CIA’s plan is part of a process known as Commercial Cloud Enterprise (C2E). In a March 2019 presentation (pdf) by the Directorate of Digital Innovation, a division of the CIA, the department outlined its vision for C2E. It would be broad and include infrastructure, platform and software cloud services supporting a broad range of users, with a variety of security clearances and a worldwide presence. The price tag: “tens of billions.”

The procurement process would be in two phases. In the first phase, they would pursue multiple vendors to provide “foundational cloud services.” In Phase 2, the department would layer on platform and software services on top of that Phase 1 foundation.

“The principal C2E Program objective is to acquire cloud computing services directly from commercial cloud service providers with established records for innovation and operational excellence in cloud service delivery for a large customer base,” the department stated in the presentation.

It’s worth noting that it’s been almost a year since this presentation, and things have likely changed. In fact, Bloomberg Government reported this week that the RFP has dropped the platform and software services component. According to Nextgov, the draft RFP was released this week with a final request for proposals coming in the spring and a decision due in September.

The intelligence community also outlined its broader cloud strategy for the foreseeable future in a document (pdf) published by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) last June called “The Strategic Plan to Advance Cloud Computing in the Intelligence Community.” It outlines in broad strokes a plan for a U.S. intelligence technology future centered on the cloud, and concludes that with the explosion of data, a future in the cloud is imperative to help deal with all of it:

Information is exploding in volume and velocity and challenging our ability to expeditiously collect, analyze, and draw conclusions from disparate data sets. Additional manpower will not close the resulting gap; we must leverage leading edge technology. The future IC cloud environment presented herein will effectively function as a force multiplier to enhance our effectiveness and address mission challenges.

The CIA was an early adherent of the cloud when it chose Amazon to build a $600 million private cloud in 2013. That was a big win at the time for Amazon and the broader cloud services transition, because it wasn’t as mainstream then as it is now. The Atlantic called it a “radical departure for the risk-averse intelligence community” in a 2014 article.

Cloud technology has certainly evolved in the seven years since the CIA last did this exercise, and it makes sense that it would want to update a system this old, which is really ancient history in technology terms. The CIA likely sees the same cloud value proposition as the private sector around flexibility, agility and resource elasticity, and wants the intelligence community to reap the same benefits of that approach. Certainly, it will help store, process and understand an ever-increasing amount of data, and put machine learning to bear on it as well.

By now, we know all about the Pentagon’s JEDI cloud contract procurement story. Over a two-year period from the time the Pentagon chose the cutesy Star Wars-influenced name for the $10 billion, decade-long, winner-take-all project, the procurement has been a drama-filled free-for-all. Even now, months after Microsoft was declared the winner, Amazon is protesting the decision, putting that award in doubt.

This is not the way government technology procurement typically goes. It’s mostly out of the public spotlight, covered by the government trade press, but largely ignored by mainstream tech publications. Perhaps that explains why the CIA, in need of a cloud update, has decided to be a bit more discreet about its plans.