Self-driving truck company Kodiaq Robotics and major US freight carrier US Express have piloted autonomous cargo between Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, and Atlanta, Georgia, using one of Kodiaq’s autonomous trucks.
During the pilot, which took place in late March, Kodiak trucks and preloaded US Express trailers made four trips from Dallas to Atlanta, covering a total of 6,350 miles, delivering eight commercial cargo. The truck ran 24 hours a day for a total of 131 hours, or about six days, with a rotating team of four safety drivers in the front seat.
Kodiak said driving a truck non-stop can increase truck usage by more than 100%. In the future, this practice will allow carriers to carry more cargo with fewer trucks, increasing revenues and reducing costs, the company said.
“This pilot project really tested real operational capabilities in real conditions, when we had real customers and real conditions,” said Eric Fuller, President and CEO of US Express, to gaming-updates. “It wasn’t one of those user tests where everything is set up perfectly so some work and some don’t, but it showed the real potential of the technology.”
Kodiaq isn’t the only AV company that US Express currently works with. Fuller said the company is testing the technology from five different vendors, but won’t list them all. Last year, US Express invested in TuSimple, and most recently, the company entered into a data sharing partnership with Aurora, in which the two companies will collaborate with each other to learn more about the commercialization of self-propelled freight. another.
“We strongly believe in technology and where it will go in the long run and how it will change the industry,” Fuller said. “However, we also understand the early nature of this technology, which is why we feel it’s important to work with multiple vendors as we begin to roll out the technology. I think there will be a rollout where some will come quickly, some will have a clear advantage over others as it has to do with different types of technologies or how they can integrate from an OEM perspective. That’s how we make sure we’re sitting at the same table with multiple vendors.”
Kodiaq is doing the same by continuing to shop for potential customers. Last month, the startup announced Services Logistics as its new commercial partner, beating Kodiaq, which will bring it revenue that will help it continue operations after a $125 million Series B the company raised last November. Kodiak is also taking the opportunity to cover land outside of Texas.
The startup said US Express Pilot marks the launch of the first autonomous truck lane on the East Coast, along a route that is “a little longer than a driver can drive in a day, but the team is too small to drive economically.” . . .
“We believe this is the earliest time the company has delivered multiple payloads using autonomous technology,” Kodiaq founder and CEO Don Burnett said in a statement. “Being able to operate 24/7 over 750 miles between Dallas and Atlanta – two of our country’s busiest cargo hubs – is a huge step forward for Kodiaq and for the AV truck industry as a whole.”
Burnett said, “We chose US Express as a cornerstone partner in our deployment partner program because we believe US Express and its options division are the ideal long-term partner to deploy and grow our autonomous long-term solutions.”