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IKEA partnering with self-driving truck company for test deliveries from Baytown

October 27, 2022

IKEA Supply Chain Operations is teaming up with a self-driving trucking company to pilot autonomous freight deliveries from the Baytown distribution center on Borusan Road to Frisco near Dallas. 

Kodiak Robotics, Inc., a leading self-driving trucking company, began cooperation with IKEA in August. This includes a Kodiak autonomous heavy-duty truck transporting IKEA products every day of the week.

The trucks are not totally without a driver. The vehicles will operate with a Kodiak safety driver behind the wheel who oversees the autonomous system. Self-driving trucks provide knowledge on how Kodiak’s autonomous driving technology can contribute to better road safety and working conditions for truck drivers traveling long distances. The truck’s professional safety driver will sit behind the wheel, pick up a loaded trailer at the distribution center each morning and oversee the autonomous delivery to the store by late afternoon.

Dariusz Mroczek, Category Area Transport Manager, IKEA Supply Chain Operations, said they 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.”

“Kodiak’s technology will contribute towards our objective to put the driver in focus in the transition towards automated transportation and towards our road safety agenda,” Mroczek said.

“IKEA and Kodiak share a commitment to putting safety first,” Don Burnette, founder and CEO of Kodiak Robotics, said. “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.”

According to a study from the University of California San Diego, autonomous trucks are also more fuel-efficient. The study estimated that self-driving trucks consume roughly 10% less fuel than traditional manually driven trucks on diesel-fueled fleets.

Kodiak has been adding new lanes to leverage its built-for-scale solution. These include the recently announced launch of commercial operations between Dallas and Oklahoma City and service between Dallas and Atlanta. Kodiak has been delivering freight daily between Dallas to Houston since mid-2019 and delivering shipments between Dallas and San Antonio since mid-2021.

By Matt Hollis, Baytown Sun