BMW iVentures Invests in Silicon Valley-based Self-Driving Truck Startup Kodiak Robotics
【Summary】BMW iVentures, the Silicon Valley-based venture capital arm of automaker BMW that invests in promising mobility startups, announced today an investment in Kodiak Robotics, Inc., a developer of self-driving technology for long-haul trucks.
BMW iVentures, the venture capital arm of German automaker BMW that invests in promising mobility startups, announced today an investment in Kodiak Robotics, Inc., a developer of self-driving technology for long-haul trucks.
The funds from the BMW i Ventures investment help Kodiak expand its team and fleet, as well as continue to develop its purpose-built self-driving technology for long-haul freight delivery.
Kodiak, which is based in Silicon Valley, is one of several high-profile companies including TuSimple, Embark and Waymo, that is developing technology for trucks to operate autonomously on highways. Kodiak, a startup founded just three years ago, aims to make the freight industry safer and more efficient with its autonomous truck technology.
Kodiak is led by a team of autonomous driving engineers from Google's original self-driving team, Uber ATG and Lyft. Kodiak's co-founder and CEO Don Brunette also co-founded the autonomous trucking company Otto, which was acquired by Uber in 2016 for $680 million.
"We are thrilled to partner with BMW i Ventures to accelerate the commercialization of Kodiak's autonomous trucking technology," said Burnette. "BMW i Ventures is one of the leading investors in automotive technology and will be a perfect strategic partner for Kodiak."
Kodiak developed an entire hardware and software stack for trucks called the "Kodiak Driver" to support autonomous highway driving. Each layer is responsible for a different component of the self-driving task.
The lidars, radars and cameras found on Kodiak trucks are powerful and create an understanding of what's happening around the truck at all times.
Instead of relying on the HD maps commonly used in the industry, the Kodiak Driver uses a unique lightweight mapping approach that's more manageable. The maps contain just enough information about the highway for autonomous driving. These lightweight maps are easier to build and maintain according to Kodiak. They are also small enough that Kodiak can push updates to the entire fleet over-the-air.
The system includes innovative mapping technology which allows Kodiak to update route changes, such as areas of road construction, without having to stop and reroute.
The Kodiak Driver also incorporates numerous autonomous trucking-specific innovations, such as the ability to merge onto highways and pass slower traffic.
Kodiak is currently testing its self-driving trucks in Texas and California. The company is delivering freight daily for customers between Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) and Houston, operating autonomously on the highway sections of the route with a trained safety driver onboard to monitor the trip and intervene if necessary. However, taking over control from the system doesn't happen too often, according to Kodiak.
Over the course of a week in January, Kodiak successfully completed a series of back-to-back round trips between DFW and Houston traveling a distance of over 800 miles with zero disengagements of the self-driving system.
"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."
BMW iVentures is headquartered in Silicon Valley and has invested in many other promising companies working on advanced mobility and related technologies. The firm's portfolio includes May Mobility, Nauto, GenXComm, Solid Power, DSP Concepts and EV charging operator ChargePoint and many others.
Last week, Kodiak announced that Bridgestone acquired a stake in the company. The investment amount was not disclosed. As part of the investment, Kodiak will test Bridgestone's smart tire technology and collect data from the tires, including load, pressure and temperature.
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
General Motors to Install 40,000 Level-2 EV Charging Stations in North America as Part of its New ‘Dealer Community Charging Program’
Brembo Unveils a Breakthrough Electro-Mechanical Brake System Called ‘SENSIFY’ That’s Powered By AI
Tesla Closing in on a Trillion Dollar Market Cap After Rental Car Company Hertz Orders 100,000 Model 3 Sedans
General Motors is Quickly Reducing its Backlog of Parked Pickup Trucks Due to Semiconductor Shortages
Polestar is Offering Two Years of Free DC-Fast Charging From Electrify America to Polestar 2 Drivers
Nissan, Verizon Complete a Successful 5G-Powered Connected Vehicle Proof-of-Concept to Warn Drivers of Hazards Outside Their Line-of-Sight
As One of the World's Richest Persons, Can Jeff Bezos Help Make Amazon-backed Rivian Bigger Than Tesla?
XPeng’s Urban Air Mobility Affiliate HT Aero to Raise $500+ Million in Series A Funding Round
- Ford Receives Over 130,000 Reservations for the F-150 Lightning, Strong Demand for Electrified Vehicles
- General Motors to Add 5G Connectivity to its Model Lineup in Partnership With AT&T
- Electric Truck Startup Rivian Plans to Raise up to $8 Billion in its Upcoming IPO
- Tesla Completes Construction of its Shanghai V3 Supercharger Factory, Enters Final Testing Phase
- Tesla Challenger XPeng’s August Electric Vehicle Deliveries Jump 172% Year-on-Year
- Toyota to Invest $13.5 Billion in Electric Vehicle Battery Development by 2030
- Research Reveals EVs Are Affordable to Maintain, But Costly to Repair
- HAAS Alert Raises $5 Million to Expand its Cellular Emergency Vehicle Alert Network in the U.S.
- Toyota is Now Manufacturing Engine Blocks and Transmission Housings From Recycled Aluminum at its Plant in Tennessee
- Volkswagen Group’s Electric Vehicle Sales Double in Q3, YTD Sales Are Up 138% Compared to 2020