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BMW i Ventures invests in Kodiak Robotics; autonomous long-haul trucking technology

BMW i Ventures invested in Kodiak Robotics, Inc., a developer of self-driving long-haul trucking technology. The funds from the BMW i Ventures investment help Kodiak expand its team and fleet, as well as continue to develop its self-driving technology purpose-built for long-haul trucks.

Kodiak is led by a team of autonomous driving veterans from Google’s original self-driving team, Uber, Lyft and more. The company delivers freight daily in Texas, and also tests in California.

The Kodiak Driver incorporates numerous autonomous trucking-specific innovations including its light-weight mapping technology. The maps contain just enough information about the highway to make autonomy possible. Unlike HD maps, the lightweight maps are easier to build and maintain, and are so small they can be updated to the entire fleet over-the-air.

These maps allow Kodiak to update route changes—such as road construction—on the go without having to stop freight deliveries.

Another Kodiak feature is the Kodiak Vision perception system. The Kodiak Driver’s sensor suite (camera, lidar, radar) collects raw data about the world around the truck; detectors process raw data to locate and classify objects; and the Kodiak Vision Tracker fuses the detections from each detector.

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Kodiak, which recently celebrated its third birthday, is building and operating self-driving trucks designed to operate on highway routes, making the freight industry safer and more efficient. Kodiak delivers freight daily for its customers between Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston, operating autonomously on the highway portion of the route.

In January, Kodiak became the first company in the autonomous trucking industry to announce disengage-free—i.e., the human safety driver did not have to disengage the autonomous system—customer deliveries.

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