10 Roads Express Autonomous Route uses Kodiak Tech
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The company 10 Roads Express has launched an autonomous truck route in partnership with Kodiak Robotics, a driverless trucking company, they announced on July 26.
The Kodiak Partner Deployment Program aims to work with carriers to establish self-sustaining freight operations. As part of this partnership, 10 Roads Express will join the initiative. Kodiak has already completed its first coast-to-coast haul for the carrier.
“We were interested in working with them because they run a nationwide relay network,” Kodiak CEO Don Burnette told Transport Topics. “They were ideally placed to allow us to really test our coast-to-coast autonomy system in a very efficient way. And so, they were a very attractive partner from that point of view.
10 Roads Express provides urgent surface transportation for the US Postal Service. The self-contained service route primarily runs along the Interstate 10 corridor between Jacksonville, Florida and the San Francisco Bay Area. San Antonio is one of the main stops along the way.
CEO Wayne Hoovestol said, “10 Roads Express carries some of the highest priority freight in the trucking industry.”
He continues: “This partnership is an opportunity to monitor the development of this technology and to assess its benefits. By partnering with Kodiak now, 10 Roads can gain the operational expertise we need to effectively integrate self-driving trucks into our fleet for years to come.
Kodiak leveraged its lightweight mapping system to put the route online in one trip. Coast-to-coast transportation served as a pilot for new partnerships. The self-driving truck hauled cargo on a nearly 5,600 mile round trip that started and ended in San Antonio. These were four deliveries.
“One of the things we love about 10 Roads Express is that they have a really tight schedule,” Burnette said. “Their network of relays moves very efficiently. We like to think that self-driving is a very effective contribution to the existing freight ecosystem. For example, we were able to deliver this freight in just five days when it would have taken a single driver 10.5 days to travel the same route.
Kodiak was able to expand its service footprint this year by leveraging its built-for-scale solution. The Last Road is its first-ever Florida expansion. The company said the process takes a fraction of the time it would normally take to create traditional self-driving vehicle maps.
“It’s only really possible because of our lightweight mapping system,” Burnette said. “It allowed us to expand our footprint, to expand where our trucks could drive very quickly. And so, we were able to set up these new roads with 10 Roads Express.
Burnette also sees this as an opportunity to actually test the mapping system. He noted that system stress testing is something that can be done alone. But the company wanted to do it in a business setting with real time requirements.
“It gave us the opportunity to test our system in a much wider variety of conditions than you would find if you were riding the same route day after day,” Burnette said. “We started in Houston. It was our daily bread for many years. But now, because our system has matured enough, we believe the time is right to expand broadly across the United States and really put our system to the test.
Kodiak technology includes a sensor and actuation hardware to automatically drive the truck. Perceptual capabilities see its surroundings in real time and feed this data into a motion planning system, which decides how and where to drive. A safety driver remains behind the wheel to monitor the system.
“We’re building our system to be platform independent,” Burnette said. “We’ve designed our system to work on a variety of vendor trucks, makes and models. We think that’s a real advantage because there are obviously a lot of preferences when it comes to carriers, fleets, and truckers who want specific makes and models of these vehicles. And we also made it very modular, which makes it easy to install the system. But more importantly, it makes it easier to replace modules.
US Xpress was the first carrier to join the deployment program on April 7. This self-driving truck route stretched between Dallas-Fort Worth and Atlanta.
10 Roads Express ranks 49th on Transport Topics’ Top 100 Carriers list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America. US Xpress ranks 23rd.