A few years ago, the independent trucking industry was gaining a foothold, with real-world use mostly limited to small-scale pilots.
Many people assumed that it would be a long time before self-driving trucks actually deliver commercial goods on a consistent basis, but that reality is approaching faster than expected.
As evidence, you just need to look at it Kodiak robotswhich provides independent capabilities to the truck industry through its fleet powered by the Kodiak Driver technology stack.
After making its first commercial delivery in 2019, the company has quickly moved forward moving 1 million pounds of freight each week. In fact, Kodiak recently announced that it had delivered 2,500, which is a huge stepping stone toward launching safe, driverless, driverless trucks in just a few years.
This past year, in particular, Kodiak has carved out its own niche. In 2022, Kodiak has expanded its map sixfold, added nine states to its deployment map and is now moving commercial loads across the southern United States.
said Don Burnett, CEO and founder of Kodiak.
In November, Kodiak earned a No. 9 finish at FreightWaves. 2023 Freetech 25 Because of its innovation and disruption, it is the only long-range autonomous vehicle company to be included in this group. The FreightTech 25 is selected from among the FreightTech 100 companies, which are selected by a panel of peer CEOs, industry leaders, and freight investors.
Operational and commercial progress this year made banner possible for Kodiak, as the company raised the bar For independent publishing.
Operational and safety developments revealed in 2022
Kodiak demonstrated some key developments in 2022 that demonstrated practical maintenance of its technology and helped build its safety case.
The company disclosed its ownership to the public Sensorsis a pre-built and pre-calibrated hardware enclosure that contains the sensors required for the Kodiak driver to monitor its surroundings.
SensorPods are easily accessible, replace truck side-view mirrors, and can be completely removed and replaced without any specialized training, simplifying autonomous truck maintenance. This, in turn, increases truck usage, which is an important metric for carriers. This demonstration Shows how replacing a SensorPod is easier and faster than changing a tire.
Alongside this achievement, Kodiak has emphasized safety as its top priority and primary motivator.
Although the company takes strict measures to ensure all trucks are maintained to the highest standards before they hit the road, their autonomous trucks need to be prepared for the unexpected. That’s why Kodiak put on some major safety demonstrations to show how AV technology will make the roads safer for all drivers.
Earlier this year, Kodiak introduced Driver’s retreat Action, a unique on-vehicle system that generates a plan that will stop the truck safely while the system operates token. If a problem is encountered, whether it’s an engine problem or a damaged sensor, Kodiak Driver’s Reverse System allows the truck to stop quickly and safely in a controlled manner.
In 2022, Kodiak has also demonstrated its ability to handle safely Tire explosions. Damaged tires are one of the biggest safety risks for trucks on the road. A blown steering tire in particular can cause a truck to behave erratically and unpredictably. After deliberately inflating the steering tire on a closed course, the Kodiak driver successfully slowed the truck and stopped in its lane, according to protocol.
“Eventually, the tires will wear out,” Burnett said. “Maintaining precise control of the truck greatly increases safety not only for our trucks but for all other vehicles on the road. So, this is a very important step in the safety story of autonomous technology, and Kodiak is really the only one that has proven that to work.”
New relationships foster growth
AV Developers demonstrate the real-world application of standalone deliveries through public demonstrations and more consistent and longer partnerships with carrier partners.
This is capturing the interest of carriers as they explore how AV technology can be used in their own businesses to solve pressing challenges facing the industry, such as rising transportation costs, safety and sustainability.
“At the industry level, we’re starting to see carriers consider which of their technology, whether it’s Kodiak or otherwise, actually fits into their existing fleets, networks and way of doing things,” Burnett said. “These business partners are really an indication of how well the AV industry in general will integrate with traditional carriers in the years to come.”
Kodiak’s Partnership Deployment Program allows the company to better understand carriers’ weaknesses, while forming an in-depth roadmap for how this technology will work with their companies and developing a plan for commercially viable driverless deliveries.
In 2022, Kodiak announced partnerships with US Xpress, IKEA, CEVA Logistics, and 10 Roads Express. These collaborations allow shippers, carriers and service providers to plan the integration of autonomous technology into their operations while experiencing the safety and efficiency benefits of today’s technology.
First use case after trucking
Kodiak culminated in 2022 by announcing its first step in another field in addition to trucking.
The company won $49.9 million in the US Department of Defense for two years a contract To help automate future ground vehicles for the US Army. Existing Kodiak technology will help support vehicles designed for reconnaissance, surveillance, and other high-risk missions as part of the Army’s Robotic Combat Vehicle program.
“We really think this goes to help the country and get people out of harm’s way,” said Burnett. “But it is also a path for us to increase flexibility and increase redundancy in the Kodiak Driver System, which will enhance our system integrity and rapid deployment for commercial purposes. We are very excited to be working with the US Army on this initiative.”
Looking ahead, Kodiak plans to build on the 2018 gains, expanding its fleets and operations.
“We’ll continue to expand our footprint going forward, and we’re really excited to see how that deployment strategy plays out in 2023,” Burnett said.
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