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Autonomous Truck Startup Emerges, Founded by Former Uber Self-driving Executive

08 August 2018
Autonomous trucks could help with the driver shortage in the freight industry. Source: Unsplaah

Just one week after Uber announced it was scuttling its plans to develop a fleet of autonomous trucks, formerly known as Otto, a new self-driving start-up has emerged created by former Otto co-founder Don Burnette.

Kodiak Robotics has raised $40 million in Series A financing led by investment firm Battery Ventures, CRV Lightspeed Venture Partners and Tusk Ventures.

The goal of Kodiak Robotics is to bring new technologies to the long-haul trucking market in order to alleviate the strain on the freight market through self-driving technology, the company said. Kodiak was founded in April and Burnette has experience working with autonomous vehicles with Otto and previously working on the self-driving team at Google.

According to the American Trucking Association (ATA), trucks move more than 70 percent of all U.S. freight and generate more than $700 billion in revenue annually. Freight is at record levels driven in part by the growth of e-commerce and the industry is currently in a job shortage. The ATA estimated an industry shortage of 51,000 drivers at the end of last year, up from a shortage of 36,000 in 2016.

“This financing, coming just three months after founding Kodiak Robotics, is a huge validation for our vision,” Burnette said. “We believe self-driving trucks will likely be the first autonomous vehicles to support a viable business model, and we are proud to have the support of such high-profile investors to help us execute on our plan.”

The funding will be used to expand its workforce and for future product development, Kodiak said.

To contact the author of this article, email Peter.Brown@ieeeglobalspec.com


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