After news of Kodiak’s financing, Uber announced plans to double its investment in Uber Freight and rehire former executive Lior Ron, another Otto co-founder, to conduct the load-matching business. Uber announced on July 31 that its Advanced Technologies Group would end development on the company’s self-driving truck app. Burnette, Kodiak’s CEO, co-founded the self-driving technology company, Otto, that was acquired by Uber in 2016. He left Uber in March and founded Kodiak with Eshel, who worked as a vice president in Battery Ventures and directed the company’s autonomous vehicle investment project.
The business is hoping to help usher in a new age of long-haul trucking, which is experiencing both record cargo and also a driver shortage. “We believe self-driving trucks will probably be the first autonomous vehicles to encourage a viable business model, and we’re proud to have the support of such high profile investors to help us execute on our strategy.”
Even though Uber Technologies recently abandoned its self-driving truck program, a company started by individuals with ties to Otto, the self-driving technology firm acquired by Uber, and Google’s self-driving automobile team has obtained financial backing to keep the evolution of systems that will allow trucks to be retrofitted to push. Kodiak Robotics, founded in April from Don Burnette and Paz Eshel, said it has raised $40 million from a group of venture capital investment companies, such as Battery Ventures, CRV, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Tusk Ventures.
The deadline for the development of this self-driving truck technology, which employs a mix of detectors, radar, computers, and cameras to control the car, wasn’t made apparent.
Kodiak, based in Mountain View, Calif., will use the money from shareholders to expand its own employees and also for product development, the company said in an announcement. Some 20 job openings were listed on Kodiak’s web site.