Listen to this article
The United States Army and the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) awarded Kodiak Robotics with a 24-month, $49.9 million contract in October. Kodiak beat out 33 other autonomous vehicle companies for the opportunity.
Under the contract, Kodiak will work with the Army’s Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV) program. The company will develop an autonomous solution that can be used in future Army ground vehicles for reconnaissance, surveillance and other high-risk missions. Kodiak will develop remote driving capabilities alongside its autonomous capabilities to give the Army more flexibility with its vehicles.
“At Kodiak, we are honored to take on the challenge of developing technology to protect those who defend us. We believe our work with the Army and DIU will both help strengthen national security and further accelerate our path to commercial deployment of our long-haul self-driving trucking technology,” Kodiak’s CEO and founder Don Burnette said in a release. “We owe a debt of gratitude to the servicemen and women who step into harm’s way to keep us safe; keeping them safe in return is an honor we take seriously.”
The army hopes to use the project to keep up with the latest commercial technologies by creating a continuous technical pipeline that will enable rapid development and deployment of new autonomous vehicle technologies as they become commercially available.
The contract also gives Kodiak the opportunity to improve its Kodiak Driver, the company’s autonomous trucking platform.
Last year, Kodiak brought in $125 million in Series B funding, bringing its total funding at the time to $165 million. Kodiak’s autonomous driving system is purpose-built for long-haul trucking. The fourth-generation truck has a modular sensor suite that includes a center pod on the truck’s front roofline and pods integrated into both side mirrors. Kodiak’s autonomous trucks handle the on-highway driving, while a human driver handles getting on and off the highway and driving to the final destination.
This won’t be the company’s first time working with government agencies. In 2021, it received a U.S. Air Force Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract. Under the contract, Kodiak worked with the Dover Air Force Base to develop a software platform for simulated autonomous vehicles that would navigate the Dover flightline.