June 8, 2022

Kodiak SensorPod400x275Kodiak Robotics, which is developing self-driving truck technology, has announced a technical partnership with Southern Tire Mart / Southern Tire Mart at Pilot, demonstrating that its pre-calibrated, pre-built SensorPods can be completely removed and replaced by a mechanic without specialized training. The goal is to eliminate the need for a specialized technician to replace AV sensors, especially when long-haul trucks may need service in remote areas.

Kodiak said this kind of deployment environment makes it crucial that hardware be easily serviceable and maintainable in order to create a viable path toward scalability.

“Every aspect of the technologies we build into our autonomous trucks is thoughtfully designed with fleet uptime, serviceability and scalability in mind,” said Don Burnette, founder and CEO of Kodiak Robotics. “We know the value Kodiak is bringing to fleets by designing SensorPods that can be easily and quickly replaced by any mechanic as simply as they can change a tire. Working with our partners at Southern Tire Mart / Southern Tire Mart at Pilot, we’re collaborating to show that this hardware approach speeds the process of maintenance and service, increases truck uptime, and clears an important hurdle to commercialization.”

The company’s SensorPod includes one Hesai lidar, two ZF Full-Range 4D radars, and three cameras. Swapping out a SensorPod involves removing and replacing the access cover and three bolts, and re-connecting three cables – one that carries power and data, with the other two providing water and compressed air for en-route sensor self-cleaning.

The partnership with Southern Tire Mart aims to determine the service and maintenance protocols related to autonomous trucks equipped with the Kodiak technology, including best practices for replacing SensorPods. The companies confirmed that the complexity of replacing the SensorPods is on par with that of replacing a tire, which is far less complicated than most autonomous system repairs.

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“In spite of the new range of technologies incorporated into autonomous trucks, their commercialization depends on third parties’ ability to perform maintenance on them, and we are thrilled to be working with Kodiak to make this a reality,” said John Boynton, president of Southern Tire Mart at Pilot. “Forging this relationship with Kodiak allowed our mechanics to learn about autonomous technology while also showcasing just how simple it truly is to replace these innovative SensorPods. Kodiak’s thoughtful approach to hardware, which takes into account the critical issue of maintenance, is exactly the kind of engineering that will carry the industry forward.”

The companies said they will continue to work on expertise around autonomous truck maintenance, and to evaluate potential new business models and revenue streams to solve the needs of the self-driving trucking industry.

For more details on Kodiak Robotics, visit its website here.

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