On Tuesday, Kodiak Robotics Inc. announced yet another major partnership to haul commercial loads using self-driving trucks in Texas.
The partnership between Kodiak and furniture retailer IKEA announced on October 18 involves an autonomous Kodiak truck transporting IKEA products between the IKEA Distribution Center in Baytown, Texas, and the IKEA Store in Frisco, Texas, along I-45, a trip of about 300 miles.
Kodiak says that the Baytown to Frisco lane has been operating seven days a week since August 8, 2022.
As part of the operation, there is a “safety” truck driver who remains behind the wheel and oversees the process of picking up the loaded trailer in the morning, remaining with the autonomous Kodiak truck through the delivery in the afternoon.
Kodiak says that operations like this could be the key to unlocking better quality of life for truck drivers.
“IKEA and Kodiak share a commitment to putting safety first,” said Don Burnette, Founder and CEO, Kodiak Robotics. “Together we can enhance safety, improve working conditions for drivers, and create a more sustainable freight transportation system. Adopting autonomous trucking technology can improve drivers’ quality of life by focusing on the local driving jobs most prefer to do. We look forward to working with the IKEA carrier partners to bring these benefits to the IKEA supply chain.”
“We are proud to be working with Kodiak to achieve our ambitious goals of being at the forefront of innovation and building capabilities for future transportation,” says Dariusz Mroczek, Category Area Transport Manager, IKEA Supply Chain Operations. “Kodiak’s technology will contribute towards our objective to put the driver in focus in the transition towards automated transportation and towards our road safety agenda.”
Kodiak also stated in the October 18 announcement that self-driving trucks use approximately 10% less fuel than human-driven trucks.
Kodiak has announced a flurry of transportation industry partnerships in the past year, joining forces with CEVA Logistics to deliver freight autonomously between Dallas Fort-Worth and Austin as well as Dallas-Fort Worth and Oklahoma City. Kodiak also partnered with U.S. Xpress for autonomous freight service between Dallas-Fort Worth and Atlanta. Additionally, Kodiak has participated in autonomous pilot programs with with Werner and 10 Roads Express this year.