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Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks Visits Kodiak

Mountain View, CA—(December 13, 2023) – Kodiak Robotics, Inc., the leading developer of self-driving technology for the defense and trucking markets, today announced a visit from Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks at its Mountain View, California office. During her visit, Deputy Secretary Hicks met with Kodiak’s senior leadership, rode in a Kodiak autonomous truck, and experienced how the Department of Defense (DoD) can leverage commercial innovations by working with dual-use AI technology developers like Kodiak.

The visit comes as DoD is deepening its relationships with Silicon Valley to counter adversaries’ technological advancements. On December 1, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visited the Defense Innovation Unit’s headquarters in Mountain View with a delegation of leaders from AUKUS (Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States), and recognized how crucial Kodiak and other companies are to the defense industrial base.

“We were incredibly proud to host Deputy Secretary Hicks at Kodiak and demonstrate our unique approach to autonomous driving,” said Don Burnette, Founder and CEO, Kodiak. “The Deputy Secretary’s visit reinforces the criticality of Silicon Valley innovators as the Department of Defense ramps up its focus on autonomous technology and pursues partnerships with non-traditional defense contractors to advance its national security objectives.”

The visit from Deputy Secretary of Defense Hicks comes a week after Kodiak unveiled its first autonomous test vehicle exclusively designed for DoD. The test vehicle, a Ford F-150, is upfitted with Kodiak’s autonomy system, the Kodiak Driver, and contains both the autonomy hardware and software required to operate a military ground vehicle. The Kodiak Driver-equipped vehicle is specifically designed to handle complex military environments, diverse operational conditions, areas with degraded GPS, and off-road variables like rocks, dust, mud, and water. The Kodiak Driver also provides the Army the ability to remotely operate vehicles whenever and wherever necessary.

Dual-use autonomous technology remains a focus for Congress as well. The FY2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Conference Report includes language that demonstrates Congressional support for the DoD’s decision to encourage cutting-edge commercial technology developers to adapt their technology for national security purposes. These dual-use acquisition strategies include the Software Acquisition Pathways model, which enables the Army to acquire autonomy hardware and software separately from the mobility platform. 

Kodiak has been at the forefront of developing dual-use autonomous vehicle technologies. In December 2022, the company announced it received a contract from the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) to adapt its autonomy system for Army reconnaissance vehicles through the Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV) program of record. Founded in 2018, Kodiak focuses its commercial efforts on developing autonomous vehicle technology for the long-haul trucking market. The company has also partnered with many of the leading companies in the trucking industry, including Maersk, C.R. England and Tyson, IKEA, Werner, Pilot, Loadsmith, Forward, and more.