Autonomous-vehicle startup Kodiak Robotics inks a deal to equip its self-driving software in 800 Loadsmith trucks
It’s been quite some time since we last covered Kodiak Robotics, an autonomous vehicle startup co-founded by seasoned veteran Otto/Google Veteran Don Burnette and Venture Capitalist Paz Eshel with the goal of revolutionizing the field of long-haul trucking.
Back in 2018, California-based Kodiak Robotics secured $40 million in Series A funding. This funding was a significant boost for the company, allowing the company to expand its team and invest in further product development. Since then, Kodiak has experienced tremendous growth, even receiving contract awards worth $50 million from the US Department of Defense to develop autonomous ground reconnaissance vehicles for the US Army.
But Kodiak’s success story doesn’t end there. Just recently, on Thursday, they announced a major deal with Loadsmith, a prominent logistics platform. According to a joint statement released by both companies, Kodiak will be providing its self-driving software for integration into 800 trucks operated by Loadsmith. This partnership is undoubtedly a significant milestone for Kodiak, solidifying its position in the industry.
According to a report from Reuters, the two companies also announced that the delivery of trucks equipped with Kodiak Driver will commence in the second half of 2025. These trucks, operating within Loadsmith’s U.S. freight network, will handle the transportation of goods along interstate highways, while human drivers will handle local pickups and deliveries.
Over the years, investor concerns in the self-driving industry have been on the rise due to the challenges posed by complex technology, stringent regulations, and delayed legislation. This has resulted in job cuts and business closures. As a result, investors have shifted their focus towards companies that offer autonomous solutions with simpler implementation and lower capital requirements, coupled with a proven business model.
Kodiak and Loadsmith believe that combining autonomous trucks for long-haul operations with local drivers will enhance efficiency and safety for shippers. Additionally, this approach aims to alleviate concerns regarding the ongoing shortage of truck drivers nationwide. A spokesperson from Kodiak confirmed that there will be no safety driver involved in the autonomous operations conducted by Loadsmith.
In addition, the California-based Kodiak also inked partnerships with renowned companies like IKEA, the Swedish furniture giant, and CEVA Logistics, a logistics firm based in France. Together, they facilitate freight deliveries in the state of Texas.
Founded in 2018 by Don Burnette, an earlier founder of the self-driving truck company Otto, and Paz Eshel, a former venture capitalist, Mountain View, California-based Kodiak Robotics is a leading player in the emerging industry of autonomous-vehicle technology for long-haul trucking. The company is backed by investors including Battery Ventures, CRV, Lightspeed Ventures, and Tusk Ventures