Kodiak Robotics announced it has started making its first commercial deliveries with a safety driver behind the wheel. The company said it achieved this milestone just 16 months after the company was formed. Kodiak also announced it will be supporting its growing testing and freight operations from a new facility in North Texas.
Kodiak operates as a true freight carrier, with self-driving trucks operating on "middle mile" highway routes. Since the company's founding in April 2018, Kodiak has grown from an idea to a reality, with a growing fleet of trucks and the launch of freight operations for customers in Texas.
"We’ve done extensive testing in simulation, on closed test tracks, and on public roads in California. Now, we’re continuing to build out our fleet for testing and delivery in Texas," said Kodiak in a web post on Medium.
The company emphasized that it is "building for production, not prototypes."
"Demonstration runs are important, but it’s critical that you don’t chase a perfect demonstration at the expense of a production vehicle. We’re not building proofs-of-concept, we’re building a solution. It’s one thing to make a delivery with the cameras on, but it’s another to make thousands of deliveries that meet your customers’ needs over the life of a truck. Trucks are built for a million miles, and that life cycle demands an autonomy stack that can also last through Texas thunderstorms and summer heat. We’ve taken a top-down, systems engineering approach that draws on our team’s experience to build a system ready for these challenges. It is this above all else that sets us apart."
Kodiak said self-driving truck technology will make highways safer while reducing the cost of carrying freight and, for longer routes, the time it takes to move goods. The company added that its expansion will further Texas' leadership in logistics and transportation.
"We could not be more excited to announce our expansion into Texas, with an office in the DFW area," said Don Burnette, CEO and co-founder of Kodiak Robotics, in a relese. "In just over a year, we've gone from founding Kodiak to putting our trucks on the road and hauling freight for customers... As industry veterans, we've seen where self-driving technology has fallen short, and have a clear vision for how to make it work and work safely."
Burnette is a veteran of Otto, the robotic trucking company acquired by Uber.
"We are thrilled by the reception we've received from all Texans," added Paz Eshel, COO and co-founder of Kodiak Robotics. "From Gov. Abbott to the Department of Public Safety to the Texas Department of Transportation and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI), we've received nothing but support."