Not for home delivery. Not yet, anyway.
California-based self-driving big rig firm Kodiak Robotics is teaming up with IKEA to deliver ready-to-assemble furniture and home furnishings to the Swedish retailer’s store in Frisco.
It marks Kodiak’s first time delivering goods directly to a store, said Don Burnette, co-founder and CEO of Kodiak Robotics. The 300-mile pilot routes on Interstate 45 from IKEA’s Baytown distribution center to Frisco will operate through November with a safety driver behind the wheel to oversee deliveries.
Kodiak has been making daily trips since early August between the distribution center and the store. Kodiak and IKEA are discussing a long-term, multiyear commitment to work together, Burnette said.
“The purpose of this is to get a better understanding of Kodiak’s autonomous driving technology and how it can contribute to increased road safety and ultimately determine how to improve the quality of life for drivers,” Burnette said.
So far, so good for Kodiak. Burnette said the company hasn’t had any safety issues on its Interstate 45 routes, even though its trucks encountered everything from construction to stalled vehicles.
“Our autonomous driving technology is able to handle just about everything that the highway can throw at it,” Burnette said.