Swedish furniture giant IKEA is working with self-driving truck company Kodiak Robotics on testing autonomous deliveries in Texas.
The company is using Kodiak’s autonomous heavy-duty trucks to transport products between a distribution center in Baytown and an IKEA store in Frisco, Texas.
The idea behind running the pilot is to understand how self-driving trucks can be leveraged to improve road safety and working conditions for long-distance truck drivers. The self-driving trucks still have a safety truck driver behind the wheels, who are tasked with picking up the loaded trailer at distribution centers and overseeing the delivery to the stores, ChainStoreAge reported.
“We are proud to be working with Kodiak to achieve our ambitious goals of being at the forefront of innovation and building capabilities for future transportation,” said Dariusz Mroczek, category area transport manager, IKEA Supply Chain Operations. “Kodiak’s technology will contribute towards our objective to put the driver in focus in the transition toward automated transportation and toward our road safety agenda.”
Kodiak has been testing self-driving technology in Texas since 2019, and it recently opened a new test route between Dallas and Oklahoma City. The company has also run pilot tests for logistics giant Werner Enterprises and U.S. Express.
“IKEA and Kodiak share a commitment to putting safety first,” said Don Burnette, founder and CEO of Kodiak Robotics. “Together, we can enhance safety, improve working conditions for drivers, and create a more sustainable freight transportation system. Adopting autonomous trucking technology can improve drivers’ quality of life by focusing on the local driving jobs most prefer to do. We look forward to working with the IKEA carrier partners to bring these benefits to the Ikea supply chain.”