Kodiak to Equip 800 Loadsmith Trucks With Self-Driving Tech

California-Based Company Expects to Begin Deliveries in the Second Half of 2025
Kodiak Robotics
Kodiak Robotics signed similar deals with other carriers over the past year, including Forward Air, Ikea Supply Chain Operations, and Werner Enterprises. (Kodiak Robotics)

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Kodiak Robotics Inc. is set to equip 800 trucks with self-driving technology for Loadsmith, a third-party Capacity-as-a-Service logistics provider, the companies said.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Kodiak expects to begin delivering the self-driving trucks in the second half of 2025.

Kodiak’s head of external affairs, Daniel Goff, declined to provide details June 27 on when all the trucks equipped with the Kodiak Driver software would be delivered.

Loadsmith put down a deposit for the trucks, Goff said in an email, while declining to provide any more financial details.

The trucks being supplied will serve as the backbone of the Loadsmith Freight Network (LFN). Founded in 2019, Denver-headquartered Loadsmith also has operations in Chattanooga, Tenn., and Phoenix.

Trucks on the LFN will transport goods autonomously on the interstate portions of highway routes, the companies said June 22, while trucks booked on Loadsmith’s platform and driven by humans will carry out local pickups and deliveries.

Loadsmith plans to deploy 6,000 trailers to maximize utilization of the autonomous trucks on its future network. The company says the hybrid model it has chosen will offer flexible and on-demand service as well as using autonomous trucks for longhaul lanes it says are less desirable to many drivers.

The deal is “founded on the belief that freight transportation is preparing to undergo a profound technological transformation, with autonomous middle-mile trucking leading the way,” Brett Suma, Loadsmith CEO, said in a statement.

Kodiak also inked deals with existing haulers in the past 12 months, including Forward Air Corp., Ikea Supply Chain Operations and Werner Enterprises.

March’s deal with Forward Air Corp. on one of its busiest freight lanes will see nonstop journeys six days a week between Dallas and Atlanta. Forward Air ranks No. 27 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America and No. 1 on the air/expedited sector list. Werner ranks No. 17 on the TT Top 100 for-hire carriers list and No. 4 on the truckload/dedicated sector list and also No. 34 on the TT Top 100 logistics companies list.

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Before that deal, Kodiak began piloting deliveries in Texas with Ikea Supply Chain Operations on a route between a distribution center in Baytown and a store in Frisco. In September, Kodiak and Werner teamed up on running self-driving trucks between Dallas and Lake City, Fla.

More recently, in May, Kodiak unveiled a battery-electric Class 8 truck equipped with its self-driving technology at the 2023 Advanced Clean Transportation Expo. Kodiak plans to incorporate the zero-emission truck, a Peterbilt 579 EV, into its test fleet in 2024. The 579EV model, designed for shorthaul and drayage applications, has a range of up to 150 miles.

All this comes against a backdrop of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration seeking Office of Management and Budget approval to conduct a study examining the impact of nondriving secondary task engagement, transfer of control and training on driver behavior in automated trucks.