Kodiak pilots CVSA roadside inspection programme

  • July 24, 2023
  • Steve Rogerson

Californian self-driving trucking company Kodiak Robotics is the first company to pilot the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) programme that allows autonomous trucks to pre-clear roadside inspections.

The programme is designed to streamline interactions between autonomous trucks and law enforcement at fixed inspection sites. It was approved by the CVSA at its September 2022 board meeting.

The enhanced Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) inspection standard requires that a CVSA-certified inspector, who has completed a 40-hour CVSA training course and passed a corresponding exam, conduct a thorough inspection of an autonomous truck combination, which is valid for 24 hours. Autonomous trucks then communicate the outcome of that inspection, as well as other relevant safety information, to roadside enforcement officers.

Since law enforcement will have a high level of certainty about the roadworthiness of vehicles participating in the programme, autonomous trucks that follow the approved process will not be subject to routine inspections at weigh stations and other inspection sites.

To launch the enhanced inspections on public roadways, Kodiak, in concert with connected truck services platform Drivewyze and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), launched the initiative on Texas interstates. As part of the pilot, Kodiak inputs the results of each enhanced inspection into the Drivewyze system, which then communicates a sample safety data message set to roadside enforcement officials in Texas at participating inspection sites.

Kodiak is working with regulators and Drivewyze to expand the pilot to other states.

“Traditional roadside inspections rely on assistance from the driver, and a common question we get is how autonomous trucks will handle highway weigh station inspections,” said Don Burnette, CEO of Kodiak. “This programme shows how law enforcement and autonomous vehicle developers can partner to ensure extremely high safety and maintenance standards for self-driving trucks. We are thankful to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, and Drivewyze for demonstrating that the recently developed commercial vehicle inspections for autonomous trucks can be implemented using existing frameworks and infrastructure.”

Brian Heath, CEO of Drivewyze, added: “Kodiak has always had an eye on the future, and we congratulate them on this major step forward as the first autonomous truck company to pilot the enhanced inspections concept in Texas. Autonomous vehicles represent a significant change to roadside enforcement, and we are proud to support Texas DPS and Kodiak in rising to the challenge. To maximise future adoption, it is important that state agencies continue to leverage their existing roadside systems to meet the needs of the emerging AV market.”

Kodiak worked with the CVSA, Texas DPS, other inspectors and enforcement experts, and Drivewyze to develop this process, which the CVSA announced last September. The Texas-based pilot is expected to serve as a model for other states as autonomous trucks become commercially available nationwide.

Kodiak Robotics was founded in 2018 to develop autonomous technology that carries freight. The company is developing a technology stack purpose-built for long-haul trucks, making the freight industry safer and more efficient. Kodiak’s modular hardware approach integrates sensors into a streamlined sensor-pod structure that optimises for perception, scalability and maintainability. The company delivers freight daily for its customers across the south of the USA, operating autonomously on the highway portions of the routes. Kodiak also leverages its commercial self-driving software to develop, test and deploy autonomous capabilities for the US Department of Defense.