Kodiak Robotics Inc, a leading self-driving trucking company, and SK Inc (a holding company of SK Group, South Korea’s third-largest conglomerate with more than 120 operating companies), have formed a partnership to bring the Kodiak Driver, the company’s self-driving technology, to Asia-Pacific (APAC) markets. As part of the relationship, SK will work with Kodiak to sell and distribute Kodiak’s self-driving technology. In addition, the companies will work together to provide fleet management services for customers in Asia.
SK’s network of companies has deep roots in numerous industries critical to the future of logistics, from trucking telematics to shipping to semiconductors. SK will leverage its infrastructure to commercialize Kodiak products in Korea and China, and will continue to expand from there.
Kodiak will look to leverage SK’s products, components and technology for its autonomous system, including artificial intelligence microprocessors and advanced emergency braking systems.
“Our partnership with Kodiak will help accelerate the commercialization of self-driving trucks in Asia,” said Jungho Shin, executive vice president of SK Inc. “Kodiak’s industry-leading technology and SK’s unrivaled reach in Korea and across Asia make this a natural partnership. We look forward to working with Kodiak to make autonomous trucking a reality around the globe.”
The partnership marks a significant milestone for the company, which claims to have developed the industry’s most advanced autonomous driving technology stack built specifically for long-haul trucks, as it works toward international expansion. Asia represents a US$1.5tn freight market, making this a key opportunity for Kodiak’s international operations.
“SK has an impressive list of companies that enables and fast-tracks our Asian expansion,” said Don Burnette, Kodiak’s co-founder & CEO. “Our technology paired with SK’s deep relationships with Asia’s leading logistics and technology partners offers Kodiak a unique opportunity to expand our global footprint and commercialize the Kodiak Driver across the Asia-Pacific region.”
Founded in 2018, Kodiak is headquartered in Mountain View, California, with a testing and operations hub located in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. In just three years, Kodiak is already earning revenue while it validates its system by hauling daily customer freight between Dallas, Texas, and Houston, Texas, operating autonomously on the highway portion of the route.
In January 2021, Kodiak became the first company in the autonomous trucking industry to announce disengage-free customer deliveries, and released footage of over 1,000 miles of disengage-free driving. Its partnership with SK Inc comes on the heels of an announcement with the US Air Force for a contract to bring autonomous transportation to the US Department of Defense’s Dover Air Force base in Delaware.