Self-driving trucking company Kodiak revealed it has partnered with Ikea on autonomous freight deliveries in Texas, the companies announced Oct. 18.
The pilot project, which started in August, aims to better understand how Kodiak’s autonomous driving technology may contribute to increased road safety and better working conditions for truck drivers on the longer distances.
“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,” Dariusz Mroczek, category area transport manager at Ikea Supply Chain Operations, said in a statement. “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.”
The partnership involves a Kodiak autonomous heavy-duty truck transporting Ikea products seven days a week between the Ikea distribution center in Baytown and the Ikea store in Frisco. The vehicle keeps a professional safety truck driver behind the wheel who picks up a loaded trailer at the distribution center each morning and oversees autonomous freight delivery to the store by late afternoon.
“Ikea and Kodiak share a commitment to putting safety first,” Don Burnette, founder and CEO of Kodiak Robotics, said in a statement. “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, Burnette noted.
Autonomous trucks are also more fuel-efficient, according to a study from the University of California at San Diego that estimated that self-driving trucks consume roughly 10 percent less fuel than traditional manually driven trucks on diesel-fueled fleets.
“We look forward to working with the Ikea carrier partners to bring these benefits to the Ikea supply chain,” Burnette said in a statement.