Autonomous trucking firm Kodiak plans to double workforce, add 15 trucks with new funding

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Trucking news and briefs for Monday, Nov. 15, 2021:

Autonomous trucking firm procures $125M in investments

Autonomous trucking company Kodiak Robotics raised $125 million in an oversubscribed Series B fundraising round for a total of $165 million raised to date.

The round includes investments from SIP Global Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Battery Ventures, CRV, Muirwoods Ventures, Harpoon Ventures, StepStone Group, Gopher Asset Management, Walleye Capital, Aliya Capital Partners, and others.

The company has also previously received investments from Bridgestone Americas BMW i Ventures.

Kodiak said it will use the Series B funds over the next 12 months to double employee headcount by adding at least 85 new people to the team, expand autonomous service capabilities from coast-to-coast, and add a minimum of 15 new trucks for a total of at least 25 autonomous vehicles.

"Our Series B drives us into hyper-growth so we can double our team, our fleet, and continue to scale our business," said Don Burnette, Founder and CEO, Kodiak Robotics. "We have engineered our industry-leading technology, the Kodiak Driver, in half the time and a fraction of the cost of our competitors. The supply chain challenges we have seen over the last 18 months only underscore the importance of autonomous trucking to the future of America's economy. With the Series B, we will further accelerate towards launching our commercial self-driving service with our partners in the coming years to help address these critical challenges."

Kodiak, in September, announced its fourth-generation autonomous truck that will feature Luminar’s Iris LiDAR, ZF Full Range Radar, Hesai 360-degree scanning LiDARs for side- and rear-view detection, Cummins X15 Series engines, Bridgestone smart-sensing tire technology and the NVIDIA Drive platform. 

DTNA, Platform Science team up on open OEM platform

Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), in collaboration with Platform Science, launched Virtual Vehicle, the first open OEM platform that enables fleets to access telematics, software solutions, real-time vehicle data and third-party applications directly from their vehicles. Virtual Vehicle is currently available on Freightliner Cascadias manufactured September 9, 2019 or later and will be available as a monthly subscription. 

In addition, the platform provides the tools to manage those applications, connectivity, and the mobile devices drivers need to use them. Virtual Vehicle represents a platform-first approach that provides customers greater value and a significantly expanded choice of software-enabled services. 

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“With Virtual Vehicle, we offer our customers an open digital solutions and services platform that allows them to choose fleet applications that best meet their needs,” said Sanjiv Khurana, head of the connected services group at Daimler Truck. “The system is seamlessly enabled in our trucks, without the need for installing any additional telematics hardware, or the associated costs and loss of uptime. Through our collaboration with Platform Science, we are building on the strong connectivity already integrated into our trucks, and offering unprecedented flexibility, efficiency and scalability.” 

Virtual Vehicle is another example of DTNA’s expanding solutions that go beyond vehicle sales and service. With the platform’s introduction, the company enhances the driver experience by offering nearly limitless software-enabled and ROI-enhancing applications. DTNA is the first OEM to use cloud, edge, and in-dash technology to provide native in-vehicle mobile technology which enables customers to distribute, manage and enable driver applications and connected vehicle services. 

The platform gives fleets the ultimate flexibility to choose third-party apps, mix or match telematics service provider (TSP) applications, or bring their own. This allows truck buyers to customize their experiences down to an app-by-app and driver-by-driver level for the first time, and to create in-cab technology experiences that best suit their specific business objectives, then evolve them whenever they choose to do so.  

Through its developer toolkit, Virtual Vehicle unleashes the potential for any number of third-party developers to create apps that can offer ROI for fleets and quality of life improvements for drivers. Virtual Vehicle provides the tools needed to manage the mobile devices that come and go from the vehicle, all without ever having to install or change on-vehicle mobile gateways or telematics units. The Virtual Vehicle platform offers many benefits to fleets, including:

  • PRODUCTIVITY: With factory-installed telematics hardware, fleets can maximize uptime by avoiding installation delays and costs for complementary hardware.
  • FLEXIBILITY: Virtual Vehicle allows fleets to create a software experience catered to individual business needs through a growing pipeline of developer-created innovations. 
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Virtual Vehicle leverages edge, cloud and in-dash data to optimize networks, keeping data available 24/7/365, even when fleets are offline. 
  • COST-EFFECTIVE: Users of participating applications on Virtual Vehicle benefit from usage-based billing. 

“Before Virtual Vehicle, OEMs, enterprise fleets, and developers were restricted in their ability to innovate because hardware and software were so interconnected. It was difficult to change one without impacting the other,” said Jack Kennedy, co-founder & CEO of Platform Science. “Virtual Vehicle finally unlocks that. Fleets can now choose software anytime they want, without the inconvenience and wasted investment in hardware that customers have historically had to deal with just to get new apps."