Silicon Valley startup Phantom Auto made its name developing software that makes it possible to operate forklifts, warehouse trucks and delivery robots remotely from almost anywhere on Earth. Its system works extremely well, but the fast-growing company announced on Tuesday that it has acquired Swedish software company Voysys AB to further improve performance.
Phantom Auto co-founder and CEO Elliot Katz explained to Forbes.com Voysys is a leader in what is called ultra-low latency technology. Simply put, it means higher performance even when connectivity is weak or unreliable.
“With the two companies’ technologies now combined, the resulting product has increased functionality in the most extreme and unstable network conditions,” said Katz. “This will prove useful as the technology scales to more warehouses and distribution centers, which sometimes have suboptimal connectivity.”
This is critical, as strong and reliable connectivity is the lifeblood of Phantom’s remote operation system. Its software is hardware- and network-agnostic, Katz explained, and aggregates all available networks from every available carrier, including AT&T, Verizon and others.
To illustrate what Voysys brings to the table, Katz points to this video that shows the remote operation of a race car running at speeds up to 120 miles per hour without going off the road or crashing.
In a statement, Magnus Persson, co-founder and CEO of Voysys said that joining Phantom Auto made sense based on its growth and market leadership and what his company brings to the relationship.
“We have developed video pipeline software that has proven to be best-in-class in terms of streaming latency,” said Persson. “The combination of our world-class technologies will unlock tremendous value for logistics operators around the world.”
While enhancing overall technical performance, Phantom Auto’s Katz is passionate about how the successful remote operation of industrial vehicles has opened employment opportunities for those who may be disabled or otherwise not normally candidates to physically drive such equipment, or those who do not live near warehouse facility and prefer not to or cannot relocate.
Indeed, Katz said, Phantom’s acquisition of Voysys furthers his company’s goal of helping solve the broader issue of labor shortages.
“Labor shortages are horrible for businesses and consumers alike, because the increased cost of finding and keeping labor is passed on to consumers in the form of higher-priced goods,” Katz said. “By creating a virtually limitless talent pool, our remote working technology can help reverse this trend. We truly believe we have a game-changing technology, and the addition of Voysys enhances that technology.”
Phantom’s acquisition of Voysys is indicative of the trend toward consolidation in various areas of technology, including those related to autonomous and electric vehicles. Why his company eats and isn’t among eaters, Katz says, is directly related to how Phantom’s remote technology helps alleviate labor shortages, saying, “What was a headwind for many is a tailwind for the Phantom, as we have experienced it. material development in the last two years”.
Indeed, in the past two years Phantom has closed major deals, including those with Tennessee-based third-party logistics company Kenco to provide remote-controlled forklifts to its customers, delivery service Serve Robotics, freight and logistics giant ArcBest, NFI , one of the largest third party logistics providers in North America and French logistics leader Geodis.
As for his latest relationship, Katz says his company has “admired Voysys for a long time,” with that admiration confirmed after tests revealed that adding its technology to the Phantom’s software stack improved performance. In these days of consolidation and intense competition, that’s good enough to prompt a professional marriage proposal.