ATLANTA, GA (February 21, 2023) — Ascend LLC (Ascend) – a truckload carrier that offers middle-mile supply chain solutions — today announced a commercial partnership with Volvo Autonomous Solutions (V.A.S.). Ascend is the first asset-based truckload carrier to reserve capacity for V.A.S.’s hub-to-hub autonomous transportation offering in the first lane planned for operation.
“We are excited to begin testing autonomous, long distance linehaul options within our network,” said Scott Stowers, President of Ascend Dedicated. “This partnership with V.A.S. closely aligns with Ascend’s continued efforts to transform the regional truckload sector by leveraging technology, building density, and offering driver-friendly routes and policies, all with the goal of providing unparalleled service to our customers.”
Ascend Dedicated is the firm’s newest arm which is being built upon the strong foundation of Dedicated Transportation Solutions LLC (DTS) that was acquired last year.
“We are excited to initiate the integration of DTS into Ascend as we seek to grow our dedicated contract carriage business,” said Michael McLary, CEO of Ascend. “Stowers, the founder of DTS, and his staff bring vital experience and creativity to Ascend’s growth and innovation plans, as exemplified by this new partnership with Volvo. We are thrilled to have them as part of Ascend’s leadership team.”
“Whether it is additional capacity, keeping drivers closer to home or improving road safety—autonomy holds enormous potential to transform the transportation industry,” says Nils Jaeger, President, Volvo Autonomous Solutions. “At Volvo Autonomous Solutions, we believe that the way to autonomy is through collaboration and creation of solutions that are tailor-made for the specific needs of our customers. We are excited to collaborate with Ascend to better understand carrier needs and challenges while bringing all the benefits of autonomy to their business.”
Ascend Dedicated will pick up customer loads and transport them to V.A.S. hubs in Dallas and Houston, Texas. From there, V.A.S. will complete the onward linehaul movement to its destination hub from which Ascend drivers will transport loads to their final destinations.
“In the future, the V.A.S transportation solution could combine the service and transit time benefits afforded by point-to-point truckload movements with the linehaul advantages of intermodal rail transportation,” said McLary. “Innovating to serve the exacting requirements of our customers’ increasingly sophisticated supply chains while providing our drivers with desirable jobs is one of the inspirations behind the formation of Ascend. Exploring the use of autonomous linehaul transportation is just one example of how we are seeking to achieve our goals.”
Many of today’s drivers seek job opportunities that align with lifestyle factors that they prioritize, including schedules that enable them to spend more time with their families, improved nutrition enjoyed through home-cooked meals, and regular exercise. Long-haul drivers often find these goals challenging to attain while traveling through the interstate highway system for days or weeks. Autonomous linehaul solutions bracketed with experienced drivers providing expert care on the origin and destination ends of a shipment’s path is one possible way to address the needs of drivers in the future.
Autonomous transportation capabilities also have the potential to revolutionize truckload delivery in terms of transit time, fuel economy, and safety. Autonomous vehicles will not require rest periods as today’s driver piloted vehicles, thereby enabling faster delivery schedules via 24/7 operations. Additionally, computer guided synchronization and optimization of vehicle operation enables performance gains not previously possible which are expected to improve fuel efficiency. Lastly, safety is arguably the most exciting frontier for autonomous transportation and certainly the area of greatest development.
By working with V.A.S. and supporting the real-world development of this technology, our collaboration seeks to accelerate the advancement of autonomous driving technology. Central to this is ensuring vehicles have comprehensive capabilities to safely operate in their intended operational domain and for the foreseeable future all vehicles operated autonomously have a qualified driver on board. Ascend is proud to collaborate with Volvo in advancing innovation in this arena.
For more information about Ascend’s dedicated transportation offerings, please visit dtsolutions.net. For general information about Ascend, please visit ascend.net.https://www.ascend.net/
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