Maersk and Kodiak open autonomous trucking lane

  • October 16, 2023
  • Steve Rogerson

Danish logistics giant Maersk and California-based Kodiak Robotics have launched a commercial autonomous trucking lane between Houston and Oklahoma.

The freight lane marks an expansion of the collaboration between Kodiak and Maersk, which began with their first autonomous freight deliveries together in November last year as part of Maersk’s global innovation centre programme.

Kodiak has been delivering eight loads per week, with a safety driver behind the wheel, for Maersk customers since August.

“Teaming with Kodiak enables Maersk to stay at the forefront of innovations,” said Erez Agmoni, Maersk’s global head of innovation. “Autonomous trucks will play an instrumental role in digitising the supply chain. We expect self-driving trucks to ultimately become a competitive advantage for Maersk as we execute on our strategy to provide customers with sustainable, end-to-end logistics across air, land and sea.”

Kodiak and Maersk are completing four round trips per week on a 24-hour-a-day, four-day-a-week basis between a Houston facility, where consumer products are loaded onto 16m trailers, to a distribution centre in Oklahoma. Operational learnings gained from the activity are captured and documented as part of the Kodiak partner deployment programme, which is designed to help companies learn how Kodiak’s self-driving trucks can become an integral part of their overall logistics strategy and offerings.

“Since our founding, we have focused on developing an autonomous product that is easy for global innovation leaders to integrate into their networks, and Maersk is a perfect fit,” said Don Burnette, CEO of Kodiak. “Hauling commercial freight gives us the opportunity to work together to integrate Kodiak’s autonomous trucking into Maersk’s operations. As the first autonomous trucking company to establish this new commercial lane between Houston and Oklahoma, we are demonstrating our team’s ability to introduce new lanes and bring new efficiencies to the entire logistics industry.”

Autonomous trucking has the potential to address long-term problems faced by the trucking industry. According to the American Trucking Association, the trucking industry faces a shortage of roughly 78,000 drivers. The ATA estimates that, based on current driver demographic trends, as well as projected growth in freight demand, the shortage could swell to more than 160,000 over the next decade.

Safety continues to be a perennial challenge for the trucking industry as well. US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research also estimates that 94% of crashes occur due to human error. For Kodiak, safety and performance are foundational to its autonomous trucking.

Each vehicle is equipped with 18 different sensors, including cameras, radar and lidar, that provide the platform with a 360-degree view around the truck. Every tenth of a second, the truck evaluates the performance of more than 1000 safety-critical processes and components in both the self-driving stack and the underlying truck platform. The trucks learn in parallel, with system upgrades shared to the entire fleet simultaneously, and are not subject to environmental distractions.

Maersk and Kodiak will continue to explore future avenues for collaboration across Maersk’s growing North American logistics network.

Kodiak Robotics ( was founded in 2018 to develop autonomous technology for freight. The company is developing a technology stack purpose-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.

AP Moller Maersk ( is an integrated logistics company that operates in more than 130 countries and employs over 110,000 people worldwide. It is aiming to reach net zero emissions by 2040 across the entire business.

Maersk’s more than 330 own-operated container vessels are to have Starlink high-speed internet with speeds over 200Mbit/s. Starlink ( is the satellite internet constellation developed by SpaceX.

The service is a leap forward in terms of internet speed and latency, which should bring significant benefits in crew welfare and business impact.

The agreement comes after a pilot where crew members on more than 30 Maersk vessels have tested the Starlink technology, resulting in positive feedback.

“We are excited to announce our journey with Starlink to provide state of the art connectivity to our sea-going colleagues” said Leonardo Sonzio, head of fleet management at Maersk. “The high-speed connectivity will enable our sea-going colleagues to stay connected with their loved ones while at sea. It will also propel the expansion of seamless cloud, enabling our vision to digitalise our vessel operations.”

This will also facilitate cost saving measures by moving business critical applications into the cloud and by strengthening remote support and inspections of the vessels.

“Maersk’s vessels are key to global trade, and Starlink’s high-speed broadband through the world’s most advance satellite internet constellation will help boost efficiency through seamless connectivity no matter where in the world they are,” said Jonathan Hofeller, SpaceX vice president.