Kodiak Robotics’ founder explains why autonomous freight could brush off inflation

If solving the problems of autonomous driving were a question of money, it’d have been solved long before now. That’s the primary argument of Don Burnette, co-founder and CEO of autonomous trucking startup Kodiak Robotics, which has expanded its business and hit milestones with a fraction of the funds that bigger players like Waymo have.

Over the past year, Kodiak has launched commercial pilots and partnerships with Ceva Logistics and US Xpress, two large trucking and logistics companies; begun using two new autonomous freight lanes outside of Texas and has raised a $125 million Series B, bringing its total funding to $165 million since 2018.

One of the few private autonomous vehicle companies on the market, Kodiak lives by the mantra of doing more with less. Last year, Burnette told us Kodiak could deploy a commercial-scale operation for $500 million. That’s about 10% of what Waymo has raised and less than 25% of TuSimple’s IPO.

Kodiak is still aiming for that goal and has now secured a reputation for keeping a tight balance sheet and an even tighter focus on chasing self-driving trucks, and only self-driving trucks. Someone else can solve the other autonomy issues.