- Kodiak Robotics will partner with Werner Enterprises to create an autonomous trucking lane, the tech startup announced Thursday.
- The collaboration began with a week-long pilot program in August, where a Kodiak truck completed eight different trips between Dallas and Lake City, Florida, according to the news release.
- The runs took 152 of drive time and met 100% on-time deliveries, according to Kodiak. Werner used trailers on both ends of the runs to facilitate first-mile pickups and last-mile deliveries.
The deal is Werner’s second AV partner pilot announced in recent months, as more autonomous startups look to work with carriers and move towards commercialization.
Earlier this year, the carrier launched a pilot with Aurora Innovation to test hauling freight with autonomous trucks in 600-plus mile routes in Texas. And last year, Werner announced an equity investment in autonomous tech company TuSimple.
“On the autonomous side, we're still a few years away from even marginal impacts around the edges,” Werner Chairman, President and CEO Derek Leathers said last month on its Q2 earnings call. “But my view on it is, today is the day, and every day as we go forward, is when we need to be preparing for the inevitable reality that things are going to change. And what we'll do is stay connected.”
Werner is not alone in its thinking. Just this month, Schneider National announced a new partnership with Torc Robotics to test the startup’s autonomous fleet, and Locomation signed a deal with Stevens Trucking to equip up to 500 of its trucks with its AV technology.
In addition to the pilot program, Werner also “joined Kodiak’s Partner Deployment Program, which helps carriers establish autonomous freight operations and seamlessly integrate the Kodiak Driver, Kodiak’s self-driving system, into their fleet,” the news release said.
“The Kodiak Driver is designed to do the often-undesirable highway portions of long-haul routes, allowing drivers to handle the deliveries that let them sleep in their own beds at night,” Kodiak co-founder and CEO Don Burnette said in the release. “We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Werner and introducing new permanent lanes together.”