Sponsored by The British Robotics Seed Fund
06 Dec 22. U.S. Department of Defense Awards $50m Contract to Kodiak Robotics for Autonomous U.S. Army Ground Reconnaissance Vehicles.
Kodiak Robotics has been awarded a $49.9m, 24-month United States Department of Defense (DoD) agreement to help automate future U.S. Army ground vehicles led by the Army’s Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV) program.
Through this award, which started in October 2022 and was awarded by DoD’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) on behalf of the Army’s RCV program office, Kodiak will leverage its commercial self-driving software to develop, test and deploy autonomous capabilities for driverless vehicles that further strengthen national security. Kodiak will develop autonomous vehicle technology for the Army to navigate complex terrain, diverse operational conditions and GPS-challenged environments, while also providing the Army the ability to remotely operate vehicles when necessary.
Wartime is extraordinarily complex with high-risk challenges that often result in troops operating near or behind enemy lines. Deploying autonomous vehicles to perform such critical and dangerous tasks has the potential to significantly reduce the risk to troops, while giving them greater access to the information they need in the field. Additionally, the remote driving capabilities Kodiak will develop for the Army will increase the flexibility of these autonomous vehicles, while further reducing risk for soldiers. The project will also provide a technical pipeline that will enable the rapid development and deployment of new autonomous vehicle technologies as they become commercially available.
“I started Kodiak because I believe autonomous technology can save lives, and helping the U.S. Army develop driverless vehicles for the most challenging operating environments fits perfectly with that goal,” said Don Burnette, founder and CEO, Kodiak Robotics. “We are proud to have the opportunity to leverage our cutting-edge self-driving technology for defense applications, and believe our work with DIU and the U.S. Army will both help strengthen national security and hasten our path to commercial deployment. We owe a debt of gratitude to the servicemen and women who step into harm’s way to keep us safe; keeping them safe in return is an honor we take seriously.”
Kodiak Robotics was the only autonomous vehicle company initially selected for this award out of 33 submissions, thanks to its proven leadership in autonomous systems development and commercialization, as well as its intense focus on safety.
In the first year of this effort, Kodiak will build upon its core competency by applying its robust autonomous software stack for Army specific use cases, including future Army vehicles. In year two, the company will implement its autonomous driving system on off-road vehicles capable of traversing complex terrain and operating remotely in unpredictable and austere conditions.
DIU focuses exclusively on adopting and scaling technologies developed by commercial partners to help strengthen U.S. national security by solving critical field challenges faced by the U.S. military. DIU works to identify innovations in six key technology areas where the commercial sector is operating at the leading edge: artificial intelligence, autonomy, cyber, energy, human systems, and space.
While Kodiak Robotics will continue to focus on its core business of building autonomous trucks for use in commercial applications, this project serves as an important extension that helps to propel its innovations forward. This project shows that Kodiak’s core technology has multiple use cases, laying the groundwork for future expansion beyond long-haul trucking.
For more information about Kodiak, please visit https://kodiak.ai.
About Kodiak Robotics, Inc.
Kodiak Robotics, Inc. was founded in 2018 to develop autonomous technology that carries freight forward — so people, partners, and the planet thrive. The company is developing an industry-leading technology stack purpose-built specifically for long-haul trucks, making the freight industry safer and more efficient. Kodiak’s unique modular hardware approach integrates sensors into a streamlined sensor-pod structure that optimizes for perception, scalability, and maintainability. The company delivers freight daily for its customers across the South, operating autonomously on the highway portions of the routes. (Source: PR Newswire)
The British Robotics Seed Fund is the first SEIS-qualifying investment fund specialising in UK-based robotics businesses. The focus of the fund is to deliver superior returns to investors by making targeted investments in a mixed basket of the most innovative and disruptive businesses that are exploiting the new generation of robotics technologies in defence and other sector applications.
Automation and robotisation are beginning to drive significant productivity improvements in the global economy heralding a new industrial revolution. The fund allows investors to benefit from this exciting opportunity, whilst also delivering the extremely attractive tax reliefs offered by the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS). For many private investors, the amount of specialist knowledge required to assess investments in robotics is not practical and hence investing through a fund structure makes good sense.
The fund appoints expert mentors to work with each investee company to further maximise the chance of success for investors. Further details are available on request.