FR8relay, an Arkansas technology company focuses on improving trucking logistics, recently received $649,998 from the United States Department of Agriculture as part of its Small Business Innovation Grant (SBIR) Phase II program. FR8relay has previously received $200,000 in SBIR funding from the U.S. Department of Energy in May of 2022.
FR8relay will dedicate the funding towards projects that aim to improve both the speed of freight trucking and the living/working conditions of truckers by replacing the current long-haul system with a network of “relay nodal centers,” turning it, in essence, from a marathon into a relay race. These nodes would be strategically placed in rural communities, making use of existing truck traffic to create new jobs for things such as relay node operators, food and service workers, mechanics, etc. as well as new revenue sources from truck parking and alternative energy infrastructure.
Current research is aimed at proving the practical feasibility of this system, which is to be achieved in a variety of ways, such as: the completion of a relay software beta product, the coordination of pilot partners in prospective relay node communities, and the monitoring/evaluation of the early stages of implementation with reports back to participants and stakeholders.
“We’re honored to receive this second grant award from the Department of Agriculture. It provides us the opportunity to further establish traction as we commercialize our novel technology,” said CEO Aayush Thakur. “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.”
As the FR8relay news release explains, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs across the federal government, bolster small businesses, strengthening the U.S. economy and generating 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.