- Kodiak Robotics and A.P. Møller – Mærsk have begun commercial autonomous trucking operations between Houston and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the companies announced Thursday.
- The pair transport freight four days per week between a Houston facility and Oklahoma City distribution center. The round trips operate at all hours of the day.
- “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,” Kodiak co-founder and CEO Don Burnette said.
The current route builds off previous efforts between the logistics pairing.
Kodiak and Maersk began testing AV deliveries in November 2022, and since August, the deliveries involve eight loads per week with one truck and a safety driver behind the wheel.
Maersk has been working to expand its services beyond ocean shipping, and instead become a full service, end-to-end logistics provider. In February 2022, they significantly expanded their U.S. trucking presence with the acquisition of Pilot Freight Services.
“As Maersk is moving towards becoming an end-to-end logistics solution provider, autonomous trucks will play an integral role to supplement their network,” Michael Wiesinger, Kodiak’s VP of commercialization, said in a LinkedIn post Thursday.
Kodiak, which anticipates removing its first safety drivers in 2024 and integrating fully autonomous capabilities with companies in 2025, views its AVs as critical to such market shifts, according to Kodiak Director of External Affairs Daniel Goff.
Texas has been a hotbed activity with AV testing partnerships. Companies such as Waabi and Uber Freight have debuted a route between Dallas and Houston, and Aurora Innovation and Werner Enterprises began piloting autonomous hauls between Fort Worth and El Paso last year.
Such partnerships are evaluating and positioning themselves for scale. Maersk plans for a continued use of the autonomous trucks, which don’t have to take breaks to meet hours of service regulations that human drivers do.
“Autonomous trucks will play an instrumental role in digitizing the supply chain,” said Erez Agmoni, Maersk’s global head of innovation. “We expect self-driving trucks to ultimately become a competitive advantage for Maersk.”
Clarification: This story was updated with Goff’s title.