Kodiak Robotics, Inc., another startup in the autonomous trucking industry, this one being only 16 months old, claims a first with its commercial freight business hauling middle-mile highway routes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Billed as a "true freight carrier," Kodiak developed its autonomous truck technology at its Mountain View, California, home base, did extensive testing in simulation, on closed test tracks, and on public roads in California, then chose Texas to deploy its first commercial business.
"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 just over a year, we've gone from founding Kodiak to putting our trucks on the road and hauling freight for customers. Making such rapid progress wouldn't be possible without our strong, experienced team, who've been working with autonomous vehicles since the early days of the industry. 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."
A safety driver sits behind the wheel during autonomous operations.
The Kodiak Robotics news release did not specify the size of their autonomous fleet but said it is a "growing fleet of trucks."
Founded in 2018, Kodiak is backed by investors including Battery Ventures, CRV, Lightspeed Ventures, and Tusk Ventures, and joins several other notable autonomous truck endeavors that have been in the news lately.
Most of the other's developing autonomous technology are still in testing, or in very limited non-commercial freight hauling; like Daimler trucks, which recently invested $570 million to focus on the U.S. market, and Embark which has teamed with Ryder System, Inc., to begin testing self-driving trucks in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.
Texas officials seem to be pleased with Kodiak's choice of Texas for doing its continued testing and freight-hauling business.
"We're pleased to welcome Kodiak to Dallas-Fort Worth," said Thomas Bamonte, Senior Program Manager, Automated Vehicles, for the North Central Texas Council of Governments. "As a region adding more than 1 million new residents each decade, it is important to develop a comprehensive strategy for the safe and reliable movement of people and goods. Our policy officials on the Regional Transportation Council have been very forward-thinking in their recognition of technology as part of the answer, which is positioning our region as a leader in the automated vehicle industry."
"We are excited that Kodiak Robotics will have a major presence in Texas," said Dr. Christopher Poe, TTI assistant agency director and connected automated transportation strategy lead. "Texas is a leader in the testing and implementation of connected and automated vehicles, and Kodiak's willingness to partner with academia and public agencies to ensure safe deployment of new technology will add significant value to our transportation system."
Paz Eshel, COO and one of the Co-founders of Kodiak Robotics, lauds the positive reception they have received from their move to Texas.
"From Governor 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. We look forward to continuing to build meaningful community partnerships in Texas, and helping to make sure that Texas is the home of autonomous trucking."
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