What’s Happening: Kodiak Robotics, a leader in self-driving trucks, has entered into a dedicated partnership with Forward Air Corporation, an asset-light provider of transportation services. The collaboration involves operating a 24-hour autonomous freight service, six days per week, between Dallas and Atlanta, completing three round trips each week.
Why It Matters: This partnership signifies a significant milestone in the integration of autonomous trucking within the logistics and transportation industry. It showcases the capabilities of autonomous trucking technology, and the potential for it to improve efficiency and resiliency in supply chains, while supplementing human-driven fleets.
- Kodiak Robotics has maintained a perfect safety record and provided exceptional customer service to Forward, delivering over 100 loads and driving more than 100,000 miles since beginning their partnership in August 2022.
- A safety driver team oversees the autonomous system to ensure adherence to hours-of-service regulations.
- Forward Air Corporation’s CEO, Tom Schmitt, states that autonomous trucks will not replace independent contractor capacity, but could serve as a scalable solution for certain lanes in their network.
- Kodiak’s proprietary sparse mapping solution allows for real-time, fleet-wide mapping updates and speeds up the process of introducing new autonomous lanes.
- The autonomous system’s reliability and ruggedness enable Kodiak’s trucks to operate for six days straight without requiring rest or recalibration.
Bottom Line: The partnership between Kodiak Robotics and Forward Air Corporation marks an important step in the autonomous trucking industry’s growth and its potential to transform the supply chain. By successfully operating 24/6 service on a challenging route, Kodiak demonstrates the capabilities of its autonomous system and how it can improve efficiency in the transportation sector. This collaboration is the latest in a series of fleet and carrier relationships for Kodiak, which has previously announced partnerships with IKEA, Werner Enterprises, U.S. Xpress, 10 Roads Express, and CEVA Logistics.