BMW announced earlier this week that it decided to invest in Kodiak Robotics, a leading developer of self-driving long-haul trucking technology. While it may seem odd to see BMW invest in a company focused on trucking for the most part, it’s actually a smart move as Kodiak Robotics has some of the best self-driving tech in the industry right now, no matter the vehicle type. The BMW i Ventures strategic investment arm is one of several big companies interested in what the developer has to offer.
Just a week ago, Kodiak Robotics also got a sizeable investment from tire manufacturer, Bridgestone, even though the amount of money poured into the US-based tech start-up wasn’t disclosed. Nevertheless, so far, Kodiak Robotics has gathered some $40 million in Series A funding. The company is led by a team of autonomous driving veterans who hail from Google’s original self-driving team, Uber, Lyft and more.
The company delivers freight daily in Texas, and also tests in California. The Kodiak Driver system incorporates numerous autonomous trucking-specific innovations including its groundbreaking light-weight mapping technology. These maps allow Kodiak to update route changes – like road construction – on the go without having to stop freight deliveries. In January, Kodiak became the first company in the autonomous trucking industry to announce disengage-free customer deliveries.
“The Kodiak Driver is one of the most advanced technology stacks in autonomous trucking, and has made tremendous strides towards driverless deployment,” said Kasper Sage, partner, BMW i Ventures. “Industry observers believe self-driving trucks will be one of the first commercially-viable applications of autonomous technology and we look forward to working with Kodiak in the coming years to put self-driving trucks on the road.”
“We are thrilled to partner with BMW i Ventures to accelerate the commercialization of Kodiak’s autonomous trucking technology,” said Don Burnette, Kodiak’s CEO. “BMW i Ventures is one of the leading investors in automotive technology and will be a perfect strategic partner for Kodiak.”