Kodiak autonomously delivers goods for Ikea

  • October 31, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

California-based Kodiak Robotics is operating autonomous freight deliveries for flatpack furniture seller Ikea in Texas.

The cooperation, which began in August, includes a Kodiak autonomous heavy-duty truck transporting Ikea products seven days a week between Ikea’s distribution centre in Baytown and its store in Frisco.

The main purpose is to get a better understanding of how Kodiak’s autonomous driving technology contributes to increased road safety and better working conditions for truck drivers on longer distances. The self-driving truck has a professional safety driver behind the wheel who picks up a loaded trailer at the distribution centre each morning and oversees the autonomous delivery to the store by late afternoon.

“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,” said Dariusz Mroczek, transport manager at Ikea’s supply chain operations. “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.”

Don Burnette, CEO of Kodiak Robotics, added: “Ikea and Kodiak share a commitment to putting safety first. 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.”

Autonomous trucks are also more fuel-efficient as indicated by a study from the University of California in San Diego which estimated that self-driving trucks consume roughly ten per cent less fuel than traditional manually driven trucks on diesel-fuelled fleets.

Leveraging its built-for-scale offering, Kodiak has been rapidly and safely adding new lanes. These include the recently announced launch of commercial operations between Dallas and Oklahoma and service between Dallas and Atlanta. Kodiak has been delivering freight daily between Dallas and Houston since mid-2019, and delivering freight between Dallas and San Antonio since mid-2021.

Kodiak Robotics was founded in 2018 to develop autonomous technology that carries freight forward. The company is developing a technology stack built for long-haul trucks, making the freight industry safer and more efficient. Its modular hardware approach integrates sensors into a streamlined sensor-pod structure that optimises for perception, scalability and maintainability.