Kodiak Robotics, Textron Systems Develop Self-Driving Military Vehicle

The two companies are teaming to develop the new autonomous military ground vehicle

Graham Hope

May 20, 2024

3 Min Read
Kodiak, Textron logos against a landscape
Kodiak Robotics

Self-driving tech company Kodiak Robotics is teaming with Textron Systems to develop a new driverless military vehicle.

Kodiak has become one of the mainstays on the self-driving trucking scene over the past couple of years, but its latest project will see it integrate its autonomous tech, the Kodiak Driver, into a new prototype from the Rhode Island company.

The vehicle is described as “purpose built” and not a retrofit of an existing vehicle.

Textron Systems, based in Providence, has extensive experience in developing air, land and sea vehicles and is considered one of the leading military ground vehicle manufacturers in the world.

Of course, this is not uncharted territory for Kodiak.

In December, it revealed its first autonomous test vehicle designed for the American military, off the back of a $50 million deal agreed with the United States Department of Defense a year before.

On that occasion, a Ford F-150 pick-up was fitted with the Kodiak Driver, plus other hardware and software, to create a military ground vehicle that could cope with rugged terrain and areas where GPS might not operate reliably.

This latest project differs in that it constitutes the very first time that Kodiak’s tech has been integrated into a vehicle that has been designed without any space for a human driver.

Related:Automaker Plans Driverless Bus, Ditches Self-Driving Cars

The Kodiak Driver has been the core tech at the heart of the company’s autonomous freight services in the southern states of America, where long-haul trucks have racked up nearly three million miles of operations.

The new vehicle will also feature Kodiak’s DefensePods, an adapted version of the modular, changeable SensorPods that feature on trucks. 

The pre-built enclosures are designed specifically for military use and include the sensors required for autonomous driving. They can be swapped out by a trained technician in under 10 minutes – ideal when in the field, where unnecessary delays can be the difference between life and death.

Kodiak and Textron say the new vehicle will be revealed officially later this year when driverless demonstrations are also planned.

The companies will also discuss future opportunities with the U.S. Department of Defense and the militaries of other allied nations, amid plans to accelerate the integration of automated tech into ground vehicles.

“Collaborating with Textron Systems will allow us to showcase the capabilities of Kodiak’s AI-powered, driverless technology in military, off-road environments,” said Don Burnette, Kodiak founder and CEO. “Together, we can bring new capabilities to ground systems, supporting the warfighter at the speed of relevance.”

Related:Baidu Self-Driving Taxi Launches in China

Textron Systems’ David Phillips added that the collaboration “represents a major step forward in delivering a mission-ready autonomous system.”

About the Author(s)

Graham Hope

Graham Hope has worked in automotive journalism in the U.K. for 26 years, including spells as editor of leading consumer news website and weekly Auto Express and respected buying guide CarBuyer.

Sign Up for the Newsletter
The most up-to-date news and insights into the latest emerging technologies ... delivered right to your inbox!

You May Also Like