California-based Kodiak Robotics is building and operating self-driving trucks that are designed to operate on highway routes, thereby making the freight industry safer and more efficient. Now, the company has secured a Series B funding of $125 million in an oversubscribed round, which raises its total funding to $165 million.
This round includes investments from SIP Global Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Battery Ventures, CRV, Muirwoods Ventures, Harpoon Ventures, StepStone Group, Gopher Asset Management, Walleye Capital, Aliya Capital Partners, and others. Previously, Bridgestone Americas and BMW i Ventures invested in the company.
Growth plans ahead
The company confirmed that the investment will be used to double its team’s headcount by adding a minimum of 85 new people in the next 12 months, add a minimum of 15 new trucks, thereby increasing its fleet to 25 autonomous vehicles and expand autonomous service capabilities from coast-to-coast.
Eyes to solve industry’s greatest challenges
Kodiak was founded by Don Burnette (its CEO as well) along with a group of veterans in the self-driving industry with the intention to solve the greatest challenges in the trucking industry. It believes that trucking will see the widespread adoption of these trucks, thereby increasing network efficiency, ultimately saving lives, enhancing the quality life of driers, and reducing costs and emissions.
Ultimately, Kodiak believes that self-driving trucking technology is meant for everyone from small fleets to large carriers and can help anyone who hauls goods. The company operates with the intention to carry freight forward so people, partners, and the planet thrive. Also, their vision is to build the world’s most efficient, reliable, and respected end-to-end delivery solution.
Improves highway driving experience
The Kodiak Driver is building the most advanced technology stack in the industry that is built for long-haul trucks. It leverages a unique sensor fusion system and lightweight mapping solution. It handles all aspects of driving on the highways, and delivers freight safely, efficiently, and on time.
Already, the company has secured a great momentum this year. Recently, it unveiled the next-gen autonomous trucks, which uses a discrete sensor and modular approach to vastly simplify the installation and maintenance to increase safety.
Autonomous trucking redefines logistics
To detail on autonomous trucking, it all set to change the utilisation of trucking and the cost of consumer goods. Nearly 65 percent of the consumable goods are trucked to the market. Given that there is complete autonomy, the operating costs would decline to almost 50 percent, it is expected to save the for-hire trucking industry in the US between $85 billion and $125 billion.
Given that autonomous trucking results in lower costs, it will send out ripples that will set new forces throughout logistics impacting the regular trucking industry. Besides reducing the costs, it eases driver shortages and also reduces recruitment, training, and retention expenses. Furthermore, these self-driving trucks work 24/7 and deliver at a faster rate.
The Kodiak Driver is a safe and reliable option as it does not speeds up or gets distracted. As it intends to make the planet a thriving space for future generations, it ensures there is lower emissions and improved fuel efficiency.
With these aspects, Kodiak Robotics competes against the likes of other self-driving trucking companies such as follows.
Talking about US-based Embark, it aims to drive vehicles on simpler multi-lane roads similar to freeways. This lets local delivery drivers go out of town and to a rest stop on highways. It will be transferred to Embark trucks with a driver in charge of monitoring the system as the load is moved to another city.
The electric trucks from Swedish company Einride has driver’s cab or controls, and the system is monitored by an operator miles away. The operator can control up to 10 autonomous vehicles simultaneously. With global expansion plans. Einride opened its first US office in 2020.
San Diego-based TuSimple works in collaboration with UPS and announced the self-driving freight network with UPS and McLane, a Berkshire Hathaway supply chain unit. It is hoped to operate all through the nation by 2024.
Waymo Via (US)
Another notable competitor is Google sibling Waymo, which is best known for its autonomous cars and robotaxi service. The company is in plans to install its self-driving technology dubbed Waymo Driver into semi trucks.