Kodiak Robotics, U.S. Xpress announce partnership

Four round trips (approx 6,350 miles) between Dallas-Fort Worth & Atlanta demonstrate advantages of autonomous trucking

Kodiak Robotics, U.S. Xpress announce partnership

Kodiak Robotics, a self-driving trucking company, has teamed up with U.S. Xpress, one of America's largest carrier fleets, to launch Level 4 autonomous freight service between Dallas-Fort Worth and Atlanta using Kodiak's self-driving trucks.

"U.S. Xpress will become the first cornerstone truckload partner in Kodiak's Partner Deployment Program, working hand-in-hand with Kodiak to deploy self-driving technology. This strategic partnership also marks the launch of the first commercial autonomous trucking lane to the East Coast," according to a statement issued by Kodiak.

"This pilot demonstrated to our operations teams and our customers the benefits that can come with autonomous technology," says Eric Fuller, President and CEO, U.S. Xpress. "We fundamentally believe that Kodiak's autonomous technology will allow us to scale our fleet while increasing truck utilisation compared to a human-driven truck. Our strategic partnership is helping both of our teams identify ways to quickly integrate and scale autonomous technology into our fleet once it is commercially available."

A Kodiak truck and U.S. Xpress trailers completed a first-of-its-kind pilot of four round-trips (eight segments) of approximately 6,350 miles, delivering eight commercial loads between Dallas and Atlanta in late March. The truck ran 24 hours a day for 131 hours or nearly five-and-a-half full days.

"The results represent a more than 100 percent increase in utilisation compared to a traditional truck and professional driver with 11 hours of service limit. By increasing the number of hours a truck can be used per day to 20+ hours, autonomous trucks will allow carriers to haul more freight with fewer trucks, increasing revenue while decreasing costs. As part of the partnership, a Kodiak autonomous tractor picked up and delivered U.S. Xpress pre-loaded trailers. A rotating team of four professional Kodiak safety drivers oversaw the autonomous system. "

Don Burnette, Founder and CEO, Kodiak added: "Our partnership with U.S. Xpress marks our service expansion to the East Coast. We believe it is the furthest east any company has delivered multiple loads using autonomous technology. Having the capacity to sustain 24/7 operations across the more than 750 miles between Dallas and Atlanta — two of our nation's busiest freight hubs — represents a giant step forward for Kodiak, and for the AV trucking industry as a whole. We chose to make U.S. Xpress a cornerstone partner in our Partner Deployment Program because we see U.S. Xpress and its Variant division as ideal long-term partners for the deployment and scaling of our autonomous long-haul solution."

Kodiak has been delivering freight daily on the 240-mile lane from Dallas to Houston since mid-2019, and on the 280-mile lane between Dallas and San Antonio since mid-2021, the statement said.

Kodiak had raised $125 million in November 2021 "in an oversubscribed Series B fundraising round for a total of $165 million raised to date."

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