IKEA Testing Self-Driving Semi Trucks With Tech Company Kodiak Robotics

IKEA Testing Self-Driving Semi Trucks With Tech Company Kodiak Robotics

IKEA is joining the wave of driverless vehicles with a new test of autonomous semi trucks in Houston, Texas.

The furniture retailer has partnered with Kodiak Robotics for a pilot program that will allow trucks to drive up to 300 miles a day as they explore the possibility of decreased manual labor. Under the test, the trucks will travel from a distribution center near Houston, Texas, to a store in Dallas.

Kodiak has been working on the freight paths in Texas since 2019 and finally put the driverless IKEA trucks to the test in August 2022 for single daily runs. After an impressive trial period, they have made their testing public, but they are still trying new ways to improve the driverless journey. Kodiak founder and CEO Don Burnette hopes this latest innovation will make life easier for truck drivers everywhere.

“The main purpose of this is for IKEA is to get a better understanding how Kodiak’s autonomous driving technology can contribute to increased road safety but also to improve the quality of life for drivers and also the modalities for which they move their freight,” Burnette said in a statement to Forbes.com. If fully rolled out, this program will also save IKEA some money, with Burnette confirming that autonomously driven trucks had seen a 10% fuel economy savings.

IKEA is not alone in its quest to take drivers off the road. Walmart and Sam’s Club have focused heavily on going fully driverless for their fleets. While this technology may be great for corporations, once more companies begin exploring self-driving vehicles, that could spell bad news for truck drivers, who could face mass layoffs nationwide.

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