October 9, 2023
Self-driving tech company Kodiak Robotics has teamed up with maritime shipping giant Maersk to open the first commercial autonomous trucking lane between Houston and Oklahoma City.
The lane is being used 24 hours a day for four days a week to transport consumer goods between the cities and marks an expansion of the collaboration between the two companies.
They first started working together last November, with a focus on autonomous deliveries as part of Maersk’s global innovation program.
The new deployment has seen Kodiak deliver eight loads per week, with a safety driver behind the wheel, for Maersk customers since August. This comprises four round trips between the Houston facility, where consumer products are loaded onto 53-foot trailers, to a distribution center in Oklahoma City.
The vehicles’ automated functionality is delivered via 18 different sensors, including cameras, radar and lidar, which provide a 360-degree view around the truck. In addition, every 10th of a second the truck is evaluating the performance of what Kodiak describes as “more than 1,000 safety-critical processes and components” in the self-driving stack and vehicle platform.
Kodiak says operational learnings from the deployment will be used to fine-tune its offering as it seeks to help other companies understand how its self-driving trucks can assist their logistics strategies.
Don Burnette, founder and CEO of Kodiak, explained: “Since our founding, we have focused on developing an autonomous product that is easy for global innovation leaders to integrate into their networks and Maersk is a perfect fit.
“As the first autonomous trucking company to establish this new commercial lane between Houston and Oklahoma City, we are demonstrating our team’s ability to introduce new lanes and bring new efficiencies to the entire logistics industry.”
Erez Agmoni, Maersk’s global head of innovation, added: “Autonomous trucks will play an instrumental role in digitizing the supply chain. We expect self-driving trucks to ultimately become a competitive advantage for Maersk as we execute on our strategy to provide customers with a sustainable, end-to-end logistics solution across air, land and sea.”
Separately, the company is also testing driverless trucks at its yard in Carson City, California.
Kodiak’s burgeoning relationship with Maersk follows on from other partnerships formed in the last year-and-a-half with the likes of IKEA, 10 Roads Express and US Xpress. It has also agreed to a lucrative $50 million deal to develop software to be used in U.S. Army off-road robotic vehicles.
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