Since August, the companies have been using autonomous trucks pulling 53-foot trailers, with a safety driver behind the wheel, they said in a Thursday (Oct. 5) press release. They are now completing four round trips per week, operating 24 hours a day, four days a week, hauling consumer goods between a Houston facility and a distribution center in Oklahoma City.
“Autonomous trucks will play an instrumental role in digitizing the supply chain,” Erez Agmoni, global head of innovation, logistics and services at Maersk, said in the release. “We expect self-driving trucks to ultimately become a competitive advantage for Maersk as we execute on our strategy to provide customers with a sustainable, end-to-end logistics solution across air, land and sea.”
The partnership between Kodiak and Maersk began in November, when they conducted their first autonomous freight deliveries as part of Maersk’s Global Innovation Center Program, according to the release.
The collaboration aims to further the integration of autonomous technology into supply chain networks to enhance performance, efficiency and safety in the trucking industry, the release said.
Autonomous trucking solutions have the potential to address long-term challenges faced by the trucking industry, per the release. One challenge is the industry’s shortage of approximately 78,000 drivers, which could increase to over 160,000 in the next decade. Another challenge that could be solved by the technology is the fact that human error is responsible for 94% of trucking accidents.
Kodiak prioritizes safety and performance in its autonomous trucking solution, according to the release. Each vehicle is equipped with 18 sensors, including cameras, radar and lidar, providing a 360-degree view around the truck. The trucks evaluate more than 1,000 safety-critical processes and components every tenth of a second. They also learn in parallel, with system upgrades shared across the entire fleet simultaneously.
Looking ahead, Maersk and Kodiak plan to explore further avenues for collaboration within Maersk’s expanding North American logistics network, the release said.
In another development in the space, Uber Freight and Waabi announced in September that they have partnered to accelerate the deployment of autonomous trucks at scale. The companies plan to offer a bundled solution to provide carriers of all sizes with the services and infrastructure to deploy, maintain and manage autonomous vehicles.