Kodiak Robotics’ First Autonomous Defense Vehicle
Kodiak Robotics, Inc., a leading self-driving technology developer for the trucking and defense markets, unveiled its first autonomous test vehicle designed specifically for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). This vehicle is a Ford F-150 upfitted with Kodiak’s autonomous system, the Kodiak Driver, and contains both the autonomy hardware and software required to operate a military ground vehicle. The Kodiak Driver-equipped vehicle is designed to handle complex military environments, diverse operational conditions, and areas with degraded GPS, as well as off-road variables like rocks, dust, mud, and water. The Kodiak Driver also provides the Army the ability to remotely operate vehicles when necessary.
“Kodiak’s new autonomous vehicle shows the maturity and portability of our autonomous system, which we call the Kodiak Driver,” said Don Burnette, Founder and CEO, Kodiak. “We have built a comprehensive autonomous system that can be integrated into any vehicle, from a Class 8 truck, to a pickup, to a next-generation defense vehicle. Integrating Kodiak’s technology into an off-road capable vehicle shows the potential for commercial and dual-use technology to revolutionize national security, just as the Department of Defense is looking to ramp up its focus on autonomous technology. We are proud to support the military, and look forward to the day that Kodiak Driver-powered vehicles can provide the U.S. military with more mission options and technical superiority, all while keeping our servicemen and women out of harm’s way.”
Kodiak demonstrated the portability of the Kodiak Driver by integrating it into a new vehicle in less than six months. This rapid development is possible due to the versatility of Kodiak’s modular and vehicle-agnostic autonomous system. The vehicle runs the same software as Kodiak’s autonomous long-haul trucks, and features Kodiak DefensePods, an adapted version of Kodiak’s modular, swappable SensorPods, designed for defense applications. A technician can swap out a DefensePod in the field in 10 minutes or less, with no specialized training required.
In December 2022, Kodiak announced contract award with options up to $50 Million with the U.S. Department of Defense, specifically Defense Innovation Unit in support of the U.S. Army to develop demonstrator prototype autonomous ground vehicles. As part of this contract, Kodiak designed its vehicle in line with the Army’s Product Manager Robotic Combat Vehicle program’s unique Software Acquisition Pathways strategy. The Software Acquisition Pathways strategy allows the DoD to acquire hardware and software solutions separately, to ensure that DoD gets the best possible combination of hardware and software for persistent modernization.
As part of this program, Kodiak will build and deliver two off-road-capable vehicles based on the Ford F-150 vehicle. Kodiak began testing the vehicles at a U.S. military base this November 2023. Once the testing is successfully completed, Kodiak plans to put its autonomous system into a purpose-built ground reconnaissance vehicle for military use.
Prior to testing the F-150 vehicles, Kodiak used its semi-trucks to test its autonomous system in off-road environments. Testing the Kodiak Driver in off-road environments also helps Kodiak improve its on-road long-haul trucking technology. For example, testing on off road terrain has helped Kodiak further harden its hardware platform while improving the Kodiak Driver’s handling of dust, rocks, and other small obstacles.
Teamsters Urges Quinn Emanuel Report to Be Public
The following is a statement from Peter Finn, Teamsters Western Region International Vice President and Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 856, regarding a forthcoming report by law firm Quinn Emanuel on the General Motors (GM) autonomous vehicle (AV) subsidiary Cruise. Cruise hired Quinn Emanuel to conduct an internal investigation after the California Dept. of Motor Vehicles (DMV) revoked Cruise’s permits for allegedly lying to regulators about an incident where a woman was hospitalized after one of its robotaxis ran her over and dragged her for 20 feet.
“Mary Barra, GM’s Chief Executive Officer, is telling the public that Cruise wants to rebuild trust and focus on safety, transparency, and accountability. That means releasing the complete Quinn Emanuel report to the public once it’s finished and accepting penalties from regulators, neither of which the company has committed to doing right now.
“Furthermore, in addition to releasing the findings of the report, the company must offer a detailed accounting of what Quinn Emanuel investigated. This should include the company’s complete safety data, how and why Cruise hid the crash video and other key details from regulators (as alleged by the DMV), and why the company initially blamed first responders in public statements. The internal review should also account for potential factors that cause safety incidents at Cruise, such as internal processes for protecting whistleblowers, where accountability begins and ends at Cruise, how often GM’s board is given safety reports from Cruise, and the economic incentives for executives that could have caused safety incidents to occur.
“GM wants Cruise to be perceived as transparent and accountable without having to do the work of being transparent and accountable. Their unwillingness so far to release the report leaves questions about what else we don’t know. It’s also exemplary of a larger problem in the AV industry – these companies can pick and choose what safety data they share with the public without real oversight. That is why the Teamsters will continue to fight for real AV regulation, both in California and nationwide.”
Founded in 1949, Teamsters Local 856 represents over 17,000 hardworking members in the San Francisco Bay Area, North Bay, Sacramento, and Central Valley communities. For more information, go to Teamsters856.org.
TIER IV Intros ADEEA
TIER IV, a pioneer in open-source autonomous driving (AD) technology, announces the launch of A.D.E.E.A (Autonomous Driving Electric and Electronic Architecture), a solution that supports the design and development of E/E (Electric/Electronic) architecture for autonomous vehicles. Comprising a reference design of E/E architecture, which is necessary for the development of software-defined vehicles (SDVs), A.D.E.E.A can be customized based on the requirements of automaker partners, helping them accelerate the development of autonomous vehicles.
E/E architecture is necessary to develop SDVs that are autonomous vehicles designed around AD software. In addition to creating AD software, TIER IV is involved in the design and development of components and features for AD vehicles, including:
- ADS (Autonomous Driving System)
- VCU (Vehicle Control Unit)
- IVI (In-Vehicle Infotainment)
Together with partners, TIER IV will continue to develop VCUs, operating systems, and electrification modules, aiming to supply high-quality E/E architecture for autonomous vehicles.