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Maersk and Kodiak to test driverless trucks

Maersk and Kodiak to test driverless trucks
Maersk and Kodiak to test driverless trucks

Shipping company Maersk is testing driverless trucks on its premises in California. The company has partnered with Kodiak Robotics to test autonomous vehicles. Maersk has moved into the land transport space – and hopes that this initiative can make deliveries even more reliable. 

The partnership has also launched the first self-directed commercial truck lane between Houston and Oklahoma City, in the US. Maersk’s global head of innovation, Erez Agomi says teaming up with Kodiak allows the shipping giant to stay ahead in the game of innovative solutions. “Autonomous trucks will play an instrumental role in digitizing the supply chain. We expect self-driving trucks to ultimately become a competitive advantage for Maersk as we execute our strategy to provide customers with a sustainable, end-to-end logistics solution across air, land, and sea,” he says. 

Companies with an eye for partnership 

This is not the first time the two companies have partnered on business initiatives. In November 2022, they started collaborating on autonomous freight deliveries as part of Maersk’s Global Innovation Program. Since August, Kodiak has been delivering eight freight loads weekly for Maersk with a safety driver behind the wheel. 

Kodiak gets in on the autonomous trucking  

Founded in 2018 by self-driving industry veterans, the company’s mission is to solve trucking industry challenges. CEO Tom Burnette says since its inception, the company has focused on developing an autonomous product that global business leaders integrate into their business operations. “Hauling commercial freight allows us to work together to integrate Kodiak’s autonomous trucking solution into Maersk’s operations. As the first autonomous trucking company to establish this new commercial lane between Houston and Oklahoma City, we are demonstrating our team’s ability to introduce new lanes and bring new efficiencies to the entire logistics industry,” he says. 

Kodiak’s business achievements include a $50 million contract with the US defense department for autonomous army ground vehicles. Other truck features are: 

  • Every tenth of a second, the truck evaluates the performance of more than 1,000 safety-critical processes and components in the self-driving stack and the underlying truck platform. 
  • The trucks learn in parallel, with system upgrades shared with the entire fleet simultaneously.
  • Trucks are not subject to environmental distractions.

Self-directed trucks addressing challenges  

Maersk says autonomous trucking solutions can potentially address long-term challenges the trucking industry faces. One of these challenges is safety, with the US. National Highway stating that 94% of crashes occur due to human error.

Kodiak’s vehicles are equipped with 18 sensors, cameras, and radar. This provides a 360-degree view of the truck. 

About the author

Sharl is a qualified journalist. He has over 10 years’ experience in the media industry, including positions as an editor of a magazine and Business Editor of a daily newspaper. Sharl also has experience in logistics specifically operations, where he worked with global food aid organisations distributing food into Africa. Sharl enjoys writing business stories and human interest pieces.

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