Forward Air Corp. and Kodiak Robotic announced they will operate autonomous freight service 24 hours per day, six days per week between a nearly 800-mile freight lane between Dallas and Atlanta, making three round trips weekly.
Providing consistent, 24/6 service creates significant operational and technical complexities. In order to maintain the demanding schedule and abide by the hours-of-service regulations, Kodiak’s self-driving truck operates with a safety driver team overseeing the autonomous system.
“The tweener lane between Dallas and Atlanta is long and difficult to staff, so it perfectly illustrates how autonomous trucks can make the supply chain more efficient and resilient and supplement our customers' human driven fleets,” Kodiak Founder and CEO Don Burnette said. “At the same time, we are showcasing the reliability and ruggedness of our autonomous system, which is able to operate for six days straight without needing rest or recalibration—a significant achievement.”
Kodiak’s proprietary mapping approach speeds the process of introducing new autonomous lanes, and it enables Kodiak to issue real-time, fleet-wide mapping updates over-the-air. To date, Kodiak has delivered more than 100 loads and driven more than 100,000 miles since it began working with Forward in August 2022.
“To serve our customers, we always need to be on the forefront of exploring emerging technologies,” said Tom Schmitt, chairman, president and CEO of Forward. “Kodiak has earned an outstanding reputation in safe autonomous trucking, and this collaboration allows us to explore potential benefits to our business. While we don’t see autonomous trucks replacing independent contractor capacity, this could potentially be a scalable solution for certain lanes in our network.”
Kodiak’s agreement with Forward is the latest in a growing series of fleet and carrier relationships the company has announced. Previously, the company announced partnerships with IKEA, Werner Enterprises, U.S. Xpress, 10 Roads Express and CEVA Logistics.