A California-based, self-driving trucking company is partnering with IKEA to pilot autonomous freight deliveries in Texas.
Kodiak Roboticsand IKEA has agreed on a pilot program that will transport IKEA products seven days a week between the IKEA Distribution Center in Baytown, near Houston, and the IKEA Store in Frisco.
"We are proud to be working with Kodiak to achieve our ambitious goals of being at the forefront of innovation and building capabilities for future transportation," says Dariusz Mroczek, category area transport manager of IKEA Supply Chain Operations, in a news release. "Kodiak's technology will contribute towards our objective to put the driver in focus in the transition towards automated transportation and towards our road safety agenda."
The pilot program will flesh out Kodiak's technology, and each vehicle will have a professional safety truck driver behind the wheel to oversee the autonomous delivery.
"IKEA and Kodiak share a commitment to putting safety first," says Don Burnette, founder and CEO of Kodiak Robotics, in the release. "Together we can enhance safety, improve working conditions for drivers, and create a more sustainable freight transportation system. Adopting autonomous trucking technology can improve drivers' quality of life by focusing on the local driving jobs most prefer to do. We look forward to working with the IKEA carrier partners to bring these benefits to the IKEA supply chain."
Founded in 2018, Kodiak has been delivering freight daily in Texas since mid-2019, which includes a DFW to San Antonio route.
"Dallas will be our home base for testing and operations for the foreseeable future," Burnette said in 2019. "Kodiak plans to continue refining and testing its trucks until the last truck-involved accident happens on public roads."
The company picked Texas for its truck tests, in part, because of the "warm welcome" extended by Gov. Greg Abbott, TxDOT, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, and other segments of the public sector, Burnette told InnovationMap.
In addition, Burnette says, Kodiak chose Texas "because of its great people, freight-rich economy, reasonable regulatory structure, and robust infrastructure."
This article originally ran on our sister site InnovationMap.