Refrigerated Fast Food Is Getting Autonomous Rides Between Dallas and Oklahoma City

Kodiak Robotics has had a presence in North Texas since 2019, and has operated autonomous trucking runs between Dallas and Atlanta with a safety driver aboard. Now Kodiak is partnering with Illinois' Martin-Brower Company to autonomously roll refrigerated freight for quick service restaurants between Dallas and Oklahoma City.

Want fries with that? If you do, they may have just gotten a robotically driven truck ride between Dallas and Oklahoma City before getting plopped in a fryer and placed in your fast food bag.

California-based autonomous trucking company Kodiak Robotics and Illinois’ Martin-Brower Company are working together to autonomously deliver “time-critical refrigerated freight for quick service restaurants” eight times per week between the two cities, Kodiak announced Thursday. 

Kodiak operates a “shuttle lane” where autonomous trucks shuttle full trailers between major hubs and local drivers handle distribution of goods to multiple restaurants—including “two of the top five largest fast food chains in the U.S.,” whose identities were not disclosed.

Kodiak’s self-driving technology operates autonomously on select highways with a safety driver monitoring things behind the wheel. The safety drivers then manually drive the truck to the final destination on local streets.

“Your next order of fries may have traveled on a Kodiak truck,” Kodiak Founder and CEO Don Burnette said in a statement. “Autonomous trucks are well-suited to the difficult work of long-haul driving, while allowing our partners’ local drivers to handle last-mile deliveries and provide a personal touch for customers. Martin-Brower’s shuttle lane model is an ideal application for Kodiak that enables us to demonstrate the value of our technology within our customers’ existing networks.”

Kodiak has been active in North Texas since 2019

Kodiak Robotics has had an active presence in Dallas-Fort Worth since 2019, joining other autonomous trucking companies like Aurora InnovationWaymo, and Gatik in making North Texas a key hub for reimagining how truckloads can be moved on our highways and roadways.

In March 2023, Kodiak partnered with Forward Air Corporation to roll freight between Dallas and Atlanta,  a year after announcing a similar Dallas-Atlanta partnership with U.S. Xpress—which at the time was the “first-ever” autonomous trucking lane from Dallas to the East Coast.

In January, Kodiak announced the launch of its sixth-generation, “driverless-ready” semi-truck bristling with “redundancies for safe operation,” building on the company’s five years of real-world testing. The newly unveiled truck will be used for Kodiak’s driverless operations, which the company plans to launch between Dallas and Houston later in 2024.

Exploring additional ‘shuttle lane’ opportunities

Mark Grittner, director of global capital, fleet & facilities at Martin-Brower, said the two companies “share a mutual commitment to safety and customer service.”

The companies began working together in July 2022. To date, Kodiak has completed over 600 autonomous deliveries as part of the partnership.

“By working together, we’re able to benefit from the safety, reliability, and efficiency provided by Kodiak’s autonomous technology while also ensuring our local drivers can continue to provide the best-in-class customer service that is foundational to Martin-Brower’s reputation,” Grittner added in a statement.

The companies said they’re working together to explore additional shuttle lane opportunities “that will optimize and future-proof Martin Brower’s network, allowing it to better serve the growing demands of its customers.”

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