BENTONVILLE, Ark. — The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced that FR8relay will receive $649,998 as part of its Small Business Innovation Grant Phase II program.
“We’re honored to receive this second grant award from the Department of Agriculture,” FR8relay CEO Aayush Thakur said. “It provides us the opportunity to further establish traction as we commercialize our novel technology.”
In 2021, FR8relay received a USDA SBIR Phase I award to evaluate the potential impacts of their relay technology to address major trucking industry problems while creating new economic development opportunities in select rural and tribal communities along major trucking corridors.
Using mathematical simulations and real-world data from major trucking companies, researchers were able to demonstrate significant benefits to all stakeholders.
Seventy-two percent of America’s land mass is rural, and truck lanes already move through them.
“Workers from rural communities are overrepresented in the trucking industry, so they are disproportionately affected by the myriad of challenges facing the trucking industry,” a news release stated. “FR8relay’s technology would vastly improve the quality of life for the substantial proportion of existing rural truck drivers by localizing the long-haul driving job. Strategically placing relay nodal centers in rural communities would harness existing truck traffic leading to the creation of new jobs (e.g., relay nodal operators, truck drivers, mechanics, food and service industry) and new revenue sources like truck parking and alternative energy infrastructure.”
FR8relay’s forthcoming USDA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project “aims to prove the practical feasibility of relay trucking in the real-world context of American logistics,” company officials said.
Primary objectives for this research and development effort include the completion of a relay software beta product, the coordination of pilot partners domiciled in the “relay exchange node” communities, along with rigorous monitoring and evaluation throughout pilot implementation with reports back to participants and other stakeholders.
“Leaders from the towns and cities we approached expressed great interest in the potential of our technology to benefit their communities, and have graciously offered to support our efforts,” Thakur said.
Through the SBIR and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs across the federal government, small business powers the U.S. economy and generates thousands of jobs, both directly and indirectly. USDA SBIR/STTR awards aim to offer competitively awarded grants to qualified small businesses to support high quality research related to important scientific problems and opportunities in agriculture that could lead to significant public benefits.’
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.