Transportation Manufacturing & Autonomy
Today’s economy relies on rapid delivery of goods, as evidenced by strained supply chains during the COVID pandemic, which cost manufacturers between $10,000 and $100,000 per minute of unplanned production stoppage. Truck freight demand grew 6.0% in 2020, fueled by the shift to E-commerce. The World Economic Forum projects freight demand to triple by 2050.
GOVA Region 2 is situated to address this growing demand, boasting one of the largest collections of truck manufacturing plants nationally (Mack and Volvo) with a collection of regional parts manufacturers and growing expertise in automation and alternative fuels/energy.
Volvo, one of the three largest truck manufacturers, has its flagship facility here, where they manufacture full-size electric trucks. Daimler, another Big 3 truck manufacturer, purchased the region’s largest autonomy firm, TORC Robotics, to spur development of autonomous trucks. This region hosts the only commercial drone delivery service in the U.S. by Wing, supplier firms like Eldor Powertrains, and innovative startups like TROVA, specializing in truck battery conversion. Other companies helping to innovate this cluster include CAC Tech Services Inc, Inmotion, Luna Innovations and Moog.
Prioritized Strategies and Activities
- Develop clear career pathways from entry through senior level employment to illustrate a lifetime of career opportunities in the region.
- Increase technical, engineering and industry-driven training among in-demand occupations. Connect with programs advocating for industry recognized credentials (e.g. VDOE CTE Curriculum)
- Identify, implement, and support innovative strategies for worker retention
- Prioritize upskilling programs in electrification and automation
- Create a corridor strategy for cluster development
- Strengthen and diversify the cluster supply chain to mitigate business cycle effects
- Catalyze technology commercialization and adoption among cluster businesses (e.g. automation and electrification), including cataloguing university IP.
- Attract additional heavy vehicle manufacturing to the region.
- Encourage adoption of automation technology among transportation and logistics companies, especially automated driving
- Develop testing facilities beyond the VTTI Smart Road and other infrastructure to support technology and business development