Pilot Company announced this week it is working with self-driving truck company Kodiak Robotics Inc. to develop autonomous truck services at Pilot and Flying J travel centers.
Founded in 1958 and headquartered in Knoxville, Tenn., Pilot Co. has a network of more than 800 retail and fueling locations and supplies over 14 billion gallons of fuel per year to the market.
Trying it first in Atlanta
Pilot Company and Kodiak said they are in the process of creating an autonomous truck port in the Atlanta area to evaluate potential service offerings and explore scalable solutions.
These services will include spaces to pick-up and drop-off autonomous trucking loads; conduct inspections; maintain and refuel trucks; and the ability to transfer data for processing, such as feature development and mapping. Pilot will also join Kodiak's Board of Directors.
“Pilot Company is committed to providing best-in-class service to its customers today and going forward,” said John Tully, vice president of strategy and business development at Pilot Co. “In making this strategic investment, we understand that our customers have a need for real solutions that help address the growing demand to move goods and Kodiak is a strong leader in the autonomous trucking space.”
Combining Pilot Company's nationwide network of travel centers and services with Kodiak's technology will play a crucial role in the deployment of autonomous trucks, the companies said. Kodiak will lend its expertise as Pilot looks to integrate autonomous truck services into its operations.
The partnership will further define service and maintenance requirements, operational necessities, facilities planning, and more to meet the needs of autonomous trucks.
“Pilot Company's industry-leading network of highway-adjacent travel centers provides unprecedented geographic reach for the launch and scale of Kodiak's fast-growing network of autonomous trucking lanes,” said Don Burnette, founder and CEO of Kodiak Robotics. “Their customer first approach, with a focus on technology, scale, and infrastructure, makes Pilot Company an ideal partner to support the service and maintenance of self-driving trucks nationwide. We are honored to have Pilot Company as an investor, strategic partner, and supporter of our continued commercial footprint growth.”
Kodiak has had a strong 2022
Kodiak said it entered a hyper-growth phase in 2022, expanding its service footprint and partner network.
In July, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company announced a partnership with 10 Roads Express, a provider of time sensitive surface transportation for the U.S. Postal Service, expanding the company's service to Florida.
Earlier this year, Kodiak announced a new route between Dallas and Oklahoma City with CEVA Logistics and a route between Dallas and Atlanta with U.S. Xpress. The company has been delivering freight commercially since 2019 and currently has six routes that run regularly between Dallas and Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Atlanta, Oklahoma City, and Jacksonville, Fla.
The company was founded in 2018.
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