Kodiak Robotics, an autonomous truck startup out of California, will get $49.9 million from the US Army to work with the Robotic Combat Vehicle program, per The Verge. They’ll use the funds to help develop self-driving vehicles for the military in reconnaissance, surveillance, and other “high-risk” missions.
What kind of autonomous military vehicles can we expect from Kodiak?
The 24-month US Department of Defense agreement allows Kodiak to build on its commercial autonomous truck software for national security. Press releases revealed few details about the potential vehicles.
“Kodiak will develop autonomous vehicle technology for the Army to navigate complex terrain, diverse operational conditions, and GPS-challenged environments while also providing the Army the ability to remotely operate vehicles when necessary,” the company says.
Last month, Kodiak displayed the capabilities of its self-driving software under a high-pressure situation. We shared the video of the autonomous truck maintaining precise control during a tire blowout, never leaving its lane.
That type of display may have been why they were initially the only autonomous vehicle company selected out of 33 submissions for this DoD Defense Innovation Unit award.
What about Kodiak’s commercial autonomous trucks?
Kodiak mentions that this reward and project will not derail its core commercial autonomous trucks business. They see the military contract as a way to extend and propel its innovations forward.
“As we progress our commercial product over the next 24 months and beyond, we will provide that increased functionality and performance to the army…Our military work will help us progress Kodiak’s trucking stack and core commercial offering.” CEO and founder of Kodiak, Don Burnette, writes.
That’s usually how things go when a company partners with the military. We’re likely to see advancements from the collaboration. We’re curious to know how the military-industrial complex’s focus on autonomous vehicles will help shape the future of US roads.