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Video shows how driverless truck responds to a tire blowout or other major system failure


Autonomous truck tech company Kodiak Robotics, Inc. shared video to demonstrate how their trucks respond to a critical systems failure.

On May 12, Kodiak says that they “became the first company to publicly demonstrate its “fallback” system, which can autonomously pull a self-driving truck over to the side of the road in the event of a truck or system failure.”

Kodiak points to events like a flat tire or highway debris knocking out a sensor as possible reasons for the fallback system to be triggered.

Kodiak describes how the fallback system works:

Ten times each second, the Kodiak Driver, the company’s self-driving system, evaluates the performance of more than 1,000 safety-critical processes and components in both the self-driving stack and the underlying truck platform. These components include both truck-related components such as the engine, oil levels, and tire pressure, as well as autonomous vehicle system components such as sensors and software processes. Should any of these critical components fall outside the acceptable performance parameters, the Kodiak Driver automatically executes a fallback plan, safely pulling the truck over to the side of the road. For example, if flying roadway debris were to damage one of the autonomous truck’s sensors, the Kodiak Driver would detect the damage and safely pull the truck over.

“To launch an autonomous vehicle without a human driver, you must ensure the vehicle will protect motorists in the case of a truck or autonomous system failure,” said Don Burnette, Founder and CEO, Kodiak. “Implementing a fallback system is a fundamental necessity to achieving that level of safety. We are the first autonomous trucking company to demonstrate this capability on public roads. We have integrated fallback technology into the Kodiak Driver’s architecture from the beginning – it would be incredibly hard to add this capability as an afterthought.”


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