Self-Driving: The Future of Trucking?


Don Burnette and his partner Paz Eshel think so. Trucking has always been Burnette’s passion, and it shows no sign of fading. It led him to leave Google and co-found Otto 2 years ago along with Anthony Levandowski, Claire Delaunay, and Lior Ron. When Uber acquired Otto, Burnette left, and co-founded self-driving truck startup Kodiak Robotics with former venture capitalist Paz Eshel.

Now Kodiak Robotics is in the spotlight, having raised 40 million dollars since it was started in April this year. The funds were accumulated in Series A financing led by Battery Ventures. The startup will use them for personnel and product development. Burnette informs the core engineering team has been assembled. Most of them have experience with self-driving vehicles.

The trucking industry moved more than two-thirds of all U.S. freight. It’s a key driver of the domestic economy, generating revenue of $719 billion last year, data of the American Trucking Association show. However, long-distance truckers are in short supply.

The founders of Kodiak see an opportunity for driverless trucks to help fill the gap.

Kodiak Robotics plans to use ranging radar known as LiDAR as well as sonar and camera technologies and light detection. Engineers will concentrate on developing the full driverless system stack from the company’s own software and hardware architectures.


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