Home Fleets and Trucks Kodiak Robotics demos successful reaction to self-driving truck tire blowout

Kodiak Robotics demos successful reaction to self-driving truck tire blowout

by Kevin Jost
Kodiak Driver successfully reacts to tire blowout. (Source - Kodiak Robotics)
Kodiak Driver successfully reacts to tire blowout. (Source – Kodiak Robotics)

Kodiak Robotics, Inc. today said it became the first company in the industry to demonstrate that its autonomous technology, called the Kodiak Driver, can maintain control of the truck when it suffers a catastrophic tire blowout.

The company released a video that shows a test truck rolling over a test rig that punctures its front driver-side tire while the autonomous technology is engaged. Even after the tire blows out, the Kodiak Driver stays in control and brings the truck to a safe and complete stop while maintaining its lane.

Tire blowouts are among the major safety risks that can occur on the road, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. A front tire blowout instantly causes trucks to behave erratically, potentially resulting in a loss of control, jack-knifing, or other dangerous situations.

One of the safety benefits of Kodiak’s self-driving trucks is the ability to instantly react to changes in vehicle dynamics. In the case of the blown tire, the truck compensates for the failed tire by applying a different steering angle. This exercise has been repeated multiple times and a consistent ability to maintain its lane positioning illustrates the adaptability and control of its Driver, says Kodiak.

“People ask us all the time ‘what happens if you blow a tire,’ and we wanted to showcase how the Kodiak Driver can maintain control more precisely than a traditional truck, even with a completely destroyed tire,” said Don Burnette, Founder and CEO, Kodiak Robotics. “We can’t control the hazards trucks will face on the open road, but we can control how the trucks behave when a critical situation occurs. By demonstrating that the Kodiak Driver can maintain complete control under such duress, we’re showing the world just how safe this technology is designed to be.”

To demonstrate the ability to maintain precise control in such a volatile situation, the company chose to execute an in-lane fallback at proving grounds in Texas. The blown tire demonstration relies on Kodiak’s fallback technology detailed in May that guides Kodiak Driver-equipped trucks to a safe stop in the event of a critical system failure. The autonomous system can immediately detect the tire fault, identify and adapt to the new vehicle dynamics, initiate the fallback protocol, trigger the hazard lights to turn on, and bring the truck to a stop within the lane. The speed of detection and level of control is critical for ensuring the safety of all road users.

The demonstration comes on the heels of partnership announcements with Ikea, Werner, and Pilot Company covered by Inside Autonomous Vehicles late last month.

Kodiak was founded in 2018 to develop an industry-leading technology stack built specifically for long-haul trucks, making the freight industry safer and more efficient. The company’s modular hardware approach integrates sensors into a streamlined sensor-pod structure that optimizes for perception, scalability, and maintainability. The company delivers freight daily for its customers across the South along four routes in Texas and Oklahoma, operating autonomously on the highway portions of the routes.

You may also like