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What comes next?

Don Burnette


Image of the Kodiak truck on the road

The road ahead for Kodiak
and self-driving trucks.

The publication of the Kodiak Safety Report provides a great opportunity for us to reflect on how far Kodiak has come since it was founded in April 2018. As we look back, we couldn’t be prouder of our team and what we’ve accomplished.

Of course, the world looks very different today from how it looked two years ago (indeed, it looks pretty different from when we began working on the Kodiak Safety Report a few months ago.) COVID-19 has affected all of us, and Kodiak, as a family, a business, and freight carrier has certainly felt the impact. Given the increased demand for critical goods, we have temporarily refocused our operational efforts away from testing and towards carrying freight for our commercial customers. We want to thank our Safety Drivers and to truckers everywhere for the incredible work they’re doing to keep our supply chains moving.

At the same time, our belief in the importance of our self-driving technology has only deepened. The difficulties many of us have faced in finding masks, cleaning supplies, and even toilet paper has given us all a brush with what could happen if supply chains begin to fail. Those collective experiences have only deepened our commitment to building a product that can increase the resiliency of our freight networks while allowing more drivers to be with their families and friends at night and in times of need. We’re incredibly proud of how the Kodiak team has stepped up to the challenge, and found ways to keep continuing our technological progress while working from home and serving our customers despite the shutdown.

Going forward, we will continue our devotion and hard work to prepare our trucks to run driverless. This is not simply a matter of going further and further without having Safety Drivers touch the wheel. It’s about building a safety case, or a mathematical argument that demonstrates that the Kodiak Driver is safer than a human under a wide range of road conditions and fault scenarios. We are building the Kodiak safety case using a variety of analytical tools, including simulations, functional safety analyses, and statistical analyses based on real-world data. When woven together, these analyses will allow us to comprehensively demonstrate that the Kodiak Driver is safer than an average human truck driver.

As we progress our technology, we plan to grow our freight business as well, adding to our fleet while expanding beyond the Dallas <> Houston lane. This expansion will allow us to further validate our business model, while helping us better serve our customers. As we grow, we’re learning more and more about our technology, and how the Kodiak Driver can serve the needs of our customers and make roads better, safer, and more efficient.

Two years ago, we were a team of six people, working out of a coworking space and collecting data from a single box truck. Last year, we had just completed our first on-road tests. Today, we have a fleet of 10 trucks, dedicated teams in both California and Texas, and have made over 250 customer deliveries. We’ve gone from doing loops around our parking lot to going long highway stretches without disengaging.

Kodiak truck operating autonomously on the middle-mile

It’s been an exciting two years at Kodiak, but it’s really just the beginning of our story. There is still much left to do, but we hope you better understand our earnest enthusiasm for the great potential sitting before us, and see how our experienced, talented, and dedicated team will ensure we continue to drive down the right path.

Until next time, safe and sound journeys!

Don Burnette, CEO & Founder