Pilot Investment

"KNOXVILLE, Tenn. and MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Aug. 23, 2022 /PRNewswire/ – Pilot Company, the largest operator of travel centers in North America, announced today a strategic partnership with Kodiak Robotics, Inc., a leading self-driving trucking company. Through this partnership, Pilot Company and Kodiak are collaborating to develop autonomous truck services at Pilot and Flying J travel centers.

"Pilot Company and Kodiak Robotics are partnering to bring autonomous truck services to Pilot and Flying J travel centers.

Pilot Company and Kodiak are in the process of creating an autonomous truckport in the Atlanta area to evaluate potential service offerings and explore scalable solutions. These services will include spaces to pick-up and drop-off autonomous trucking loads; conduct inspections; maintain and refuel trucks; and the ability to transfer data for processing, such as feature development and mapping. To strengthen the ability to work together to develop a solution that works best for its customers, Pilot Company has made a strategic investment in Kodiak and will join the company’s Board of Directors."

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/pilot-company-and-k…

Kodiak’s website:

https://kodiak.ai/?gclid=CjwKCAjw3qGYBhBSEiwAcnTRLoX7YLwSHl_…

A 4-5,000 lb self driving Tesla barreling down the highway at 75 mph is one thing. But, a 80,000 lb autonomous 18 wheeler? Makes me nervous.

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A 4-5,000 lb self driving Tesla barreling down the highway at 75 mph is one thing. But, a 80,000 lb autonomous 18 wheeler? Makes me nervous.

I dunno–
18 wheelers are less likely to be near pedestrians, the driving environment is more predictable,
yet essentially all the value benefit is available even if operation is limited to limited access freeways.
They are the obvious first target for automated driving.

My expectation has always been that the first large scale use case would be large trucks in dedicated lanes on highways.
Or on dedicated highways, for places with lots of spare land.
And, at some much later date, gradual closing off of highways for manually operated vehicles.

Jim

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Nowhere in the PR is there any mention of an autonomous truck.

This is when the truck is stationary. Like in the Pilot service centers.

Nowhere in the PR is there any mention of an autonomous truck.

We must have read different press releases.

Headline: “Pilot Company and Kodiak Robotics Partner to Bring Self-Driving Truck Services to Pilot and Flying J Travel Centers”

And the first collaboration:

“Pilot Company and Kodiak are in the process of creating an autonomous truckport in the Atlanta area to evaluate potential service offerings and explore scalable solutions. These services will include spaces to pick-up and drop-off autonomous trucking loads; conduct inspections; maintain and refuel trucks; and the ability to transfer data for processing, such as feature development and mapping. To strengthen the ability to work together to develop a solution that works best for its customers, Pilot Company has made a strategic investment in Kodiak and will join the company’s Board of Directors.”

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My expectation has always been that the first large scale use case would be large trucks in dedicated lanes on highways.
Or on dedicated highways, for places with lots of spare land.

“Low-slung trucks with feeble headlights (useful only for warning purposes) sped mindlessly past them with whining tires and moaning turbines. With dish antennae they watched the road, and with magnetic feelers they felt at the guiding strips of steel in the roadbed and were given guidance thereby, as they rushed along the pink, fluorescent river of oiled concrete. Economic corpuscles in an artery of Man, the behemoths charged heedlessly past the two monks who dodged them from lane to lane. To be felled by one of them was to be run over by truck after truck until a safety cruiser found the flattened imprint of a man on the pavement and stopped to clean it up. The autopilots’ sensing mechanisms were better at detecting masses of metal than masses of flesh and bone.”

This from one of the best science fiction novels ever to go to press (in this case, around seventy years ago)

Walter Miller wasn’t particularly prescient…he just paid attention.

-sutton
unsuprised

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Nowhere in the PR is there any mention of an autonomous truck.

It’s here:

Combining Pilot Company’s nationwide network of travel centers and services with Kodiak’s technology will play a crucial role in the deployment of autonomous trucks. Kodiak will lend its expertise as Pilot Company looks to integrate autonomous truck services into its operations. The partnership will further define service and maintenance requirements, operational necessities, facilities planning, and more to meet the needs of autonomous trucks.

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