A.P. Moller – Maersk (Maersk) has partnered with Kodiak Robotics to implement ‘the first’ commercial autonomous trucking lane between Houston and Oklahoma City to complete freight deliveries.
The companies have previously collaborated on autonomous freight services, with Kodiak delivering eight loads per week, with a safety driver behind the wheel, for Maersk customers since August.
“Teaming with Kodiak enables Maersk to stay at the forefront of innovative solutions,” said Erez Agmoni, Maersk’s global head of innovation, logistics and services.
“Autonomous trucks will play an instrumental role in digitising the supply chain. We expect self-driving trucks to ultimately become a competitive advantage for Maersk as we execute on our strategy to provide customers with a sustainable, end-to-end logistics solution across air, land and sea.”
Currently, the pair are completing four round trips per week 24 hours a day, four days a week between a Houston facility to a distribution centre in Oklahoma City.
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Using autonomous vehicles can address some of the long-term challenges seen in the trucking industry.
According to Statista, an ongoing driver shortage is one of the biggest problems troubling the industry in the US, with an estimated 80,500 drivers needed in 2021; by 2030, this is forecast to reach 162,000.
Safety concerns are also a major challenge. According to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an estimated 94% of crashes occur due to human error.
Some of the vehicle safety features intended to prevent incident include 18 different sensors, including cameras, radar and lidar, which provide the platform with a 360-degree view around the truck.
According to Kodiak, every tenth of a second, the truck ‘evaluates the performance of more than 1,000 safety-critical processes and components’ within the self-driving stack and the underlying truck platform.
In addition to this, the trucks were designed to learn in parallel, with system upgrades being shared to the entire fleet simultaneously, meaning they are not subject to environmental distractions, the company added.
Maersk is a finalist for the first-ever Robotics & Automation Awards in the Industry 4.0 and Innovation in the Warehouse categories for its work with Dexory. Interested in attending this unmissable event for the robotics and automation sectors and networking with pioneers of the industry? Book your table now!