Kodiak Robotics, the autonomous truck startup, will receive $49.9 million to help the US Army develop self-driving vehicles for reconnaissance, surveillance, and other “high-risk” missions.
The Mountain View, California-based company, which primarily builds self-driving systems for freight trucks, will develop the vehicles for the US Army’s Robotic Combat Vehicle program. The collaboration is set to last 24 months under the agreement with the US Department of Defense, Kodiak says.
The details about the types of vehicles that Kodiak says it will develop for the army are still vague
The details about the types of vehicles that Kodiak says it will develop for the army are still vague. According to the company, “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.”
The use of AVs in wartime, for example, has the potential to “significantly reduce the risk to troops, while giving them greater access to the information they need in the field,” Kodiak adds.
“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 of Kodiak Robotics, in a statement.
AVs and the US military-industrial complex go way back, with driverless technology getting a huge boost from the DARPA program several decades ago. And, of course, the military routinely deploys drones and other remotely guided aircraft and vehicles in combat zones.