ISEE debuts AI-powered trailer auto-coupling system for autonomous yard trucks

ISEE's Trailer Auto-coupling system.
ISEE’s AI-powered Trailer Auto-Coupling system couples the trailer and connects airlines without any modifications. | Source: ISEE

ISEE, an autonomous yard truck developer, unveiled its new fully-automated, AI-powered trailer auto-coupling system for autonomous yard trucks. This technology autonomously couples the trailer and connects the airlines without any trailer modifications, adapters, markers, or remote control.

The Cambridge, Mass.-based company hopes its latest, patent-pending technology can provide more safety and efficiency for its customers.

“Our latest AI-Powered Trailer Auto-Coupling Technology leverages generative AI models for data augmentation and feature generation. This technology adopts an end-to-end approach to train gladhand type and pose in a consistent fashion, ensuring adaptability and versatility in our AI systems across diverse gladhand variations and environmental conditions,” Yibiao Zhao, ISEE CEO and co-founder, said in a release. “The robot arm is adept at attaching and detaching the gladhands, skillfully locating and handling them in any position, akin to human dexterity.”

Inside ISEE’s trailer auto-coupling system

Trailer air connectors, known as gladhand, can vary in location, orientation, and type from one trailer to another. This makes the process of finding gladhands and attaching them difficult for robotic systems, which typically perform better with repeatable tasks.

ISEE’s trailer auto-coupling system integrates a six-axis robotic arm on the back of an autonomous yard truck cab. Using AI-powered auto-coupling technology, the system autonomously identifies the precise locations and orientations of the trailer air connectors for the service and parking breaks.

The system leverages ISEE’s extensive experience and data from over 10,000 operational moves in customer sites. ISEE used this data to train the system to precisely identify and connect airbrake lines autonomously. This eliminates the necessity for remote control or attaching extra adapters to the trailers.

By automating the trailer coupling process, ISEE says it’s freeing up employees from having to manually couple and decouple trailer airlines, which can increase safety and simplify management.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost 30% of injuries in the trucking industry occur when drivers slip or fall while working. Stepping outside of the cab to perform tasks, like connecting the trailer air lines, poses a risk. Slippery steps and the cab’s average height of four feet from the ground can result in falls.

ISEE builds on its existing portfolio

This latest product release augments ISEE’s existing, patented auto-coupling system that the company’s customers are already using. Its existing system uses a trailer adapter that standardizes various trailer connectors in a consistent location across the trailer fleet.

ISEE’s existing system is ideal for customers who control their fleet or utilize a captive pool of trailers for their campus. With both systems now on the market, ISEE says its customers can pick which level of trailer automation they prefer.

Along with its coupling systems, ISEE also offers autonomous yard truck systems. The company offers hardware and software that works with most common yard trucks and yard management systems. According to the company, it can adapt to any size yard with the most common yard trucks and yard management systems.

ISEE was founded in 2017 and was developed out of AI research from MIT. In 2022, it brought in $40 million in Series B funding, bringing its total funding since its founding to $70 million.

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Automated Warehouse staff