June 30, 2023
Autonomous truck tech company Kodiak Robotics has agreed to fit its self-driving software in 800 trucks for logistics platform Loadsmith.
Kodiak, which is based in Mountain View, California, will start installing its Kodiak Driver solution into Loadsmith’s vehicles in the second half of 2025.
Loadsmith, based in Denver, Colorado, defines itself as a Capacity-as-a-Service (CaaS) platform for shippers and carriers and says the Kodiak-fitted trucks will form the basis of the Loadsmith Freight Network (LFN) – the first-ever freight transportation company built specifically for self-driving trucks.
The Kodiak Driver is a purpose-built technology stack that makes use of lidar, radar and cameras, plus mapping, to deliver self-driving functionality. It underwent its latest upgrade in May this year.
The trucks will be owned by Loadsmith, with Kodiak’s tech available on a subscription basis.
According to the companies, the trucks will operate on the newly created LFN, an ecosystem of specific routes and freight hubs. The plan is for the vehicles to operate autonomously on the long-haul interstate portions of highway routes, with human-driven trucks, booked on Loadsmith’s platform, fulfilling local pick-ups and deliveries.
The autonomous trucks will rendezvous with the local drivers at the predetermined hubs.
Loadsmith says it will be able to deploy 6,000 trailers on the LFN, which will allow it to take full advantage of the Kodiak trucks. By pairing autonomous and manual trucks in this way, it claims it can swiftly scale autonomous deliveries and move away from more traditional methods of trucking to a focused, on-demand service.
In particular, it argues that by using self-driving trucks on long-haul routes – which are generally less appealing to human operators – it can help to address the driver shortage that has become a concern in the industry.
Brett Suma, founder and CEO of Loadsmith, explained: “Loadsmith’s partnership with Kodiak is founded on the belief that freight transportation is preparing to undergo a profound technological transformation, with autonomous middle-mile trucking leading the way.
“Loadsmith’s expertise in network design and freight execution combined with Kodiak’s best-in-class autonomous trucking technology demonstrates a new model for how two companies can collaborate to usher in a new era of transportation.”
The deal constitutes another significant success for Kodiak, which has partnered with the likes of IKEA, US Xpress and 10 Roads Express on autonomous trucking pilots on routes in America’s southern states over the past couple of years.
Kodiak also announced in December that it had secured a $50 million deal to develop software for off-road robotic vehicles to be used by the U.S. Army.
Hailing the latest agreement, Don Burnette, founder and CEO of Kodiak, said: “Loadsmith is the first trucking company built specifically for autonomous trucks, and we are proud that they selected Kodiak as the backbone of their operations.”
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