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Kodiak Robotics releases new tech to simplify autonomous truck maintenance

Kodiak Robotics, a self-driving trucking company, has demonstrated how its proprietary SensorPod hardware “simplifies autonomous truck maintenance and increases truck utilization” by eliminating the need for a specialized technician to replace autonomous vehicle sensors.

As part of a technical partnership with Southern Tire Mart/Southern Tire Mart at Pilot, Kodiak has demonstrated that its pre-calibrated, pre-built SensorPods, which replace the truck’s stock side-view mirrors, can be completely removed and replaced by a mechanic without specialized training.

Servicing and maintaining most autonomous truck sensor systems requires significant time and specialized training, which complicates repairs since long-haul trucks can travel thousands of miles per trip and may need service in remote locations.

This deployment environment makes it crucial that hardware be easily serviceable and maintainable in order to create a viable path toward scalability.

Don Burnette, founder and CEO, Kodiak, says: “Every aspect of the technologies we build into our autonomous trucks is thoughtfully designed with fleet uptime, serviceability and scalability in mind.

“We know the value Kodiak is bringing to fleets by designing SensorPods that can be easily and quickly replaced by any mechanic as simply as they can change a tire.

“Working with our partners at Southern Tire Mart/Southern Tire Mart at Pilot, we’re collaborating to show that this hardware approach speeds the process of maintenance and service, increases truck uptime, and clears an important hurdle to commercialization.”

Last year, Kodiak announced its patent-pending SensorPod which included one Hesai LiDAR, two ZF Full-Range 4D radars, and three cameras.

Swapping out a SensorPod is as easy as removing and replacing the access cover and three bolts, and re-connecting three cables.

The cable design demonstrates Kodiak’s commitment to simplifying future maintenance: one cable carries power and data, while the other two provide water and compressed air for en-route sensor self-cleaning.

Kodiak’s partnership with Southern Tire Mart/Southern Tire Mart at Pilot further underscores the universality and maintainability of Kodiak’s SensorPods.

Southern Tire Mart/Southern Tire Mart at Pilot has deep expertise in commercial vehicle maintenance, including both preventive maintenance and as-needed service.

The companies’ partnership is focused on determining the service and maintenance protocols related to autonomous trucks equipped with Kodiak’s technology, including best practices for replacing SensorPods.

Southern Tire Mart/Southern Tire Mart at Pilot has confirmed that the complexity of replacing the SensorPods is on par with that of replacing a tire, which is far less complicated than most autonomous system repairs.

John Boynton, president, Southern Tire Mart at Pilot, says: “In spite of the new range of technologies incorporated into autonomous trucks, their commercialization depends on third parties’ ability to perform maintenance on them and we are thrilled to be working with Kodiak to make this a reality.

“Forging this relationship with Kodiak allowed our mechanics to learn about autonomous technology while also showcasing just how simple it truly is to replace these innovative SensorPods.

“Kodiak’s thoughtful approach to hardware, which takes into account the critical issue of maintenance, is exactly the kind of engineering that will carry the industry forward.”

Kodiak will continue to work with Southern Tire Mart/Southern Tire Mart at Pilot to build expertise around autonomous truck maintenance.

Southern Tire Mart/Southern Tire Mart at Pilot aims to develop an understanding of the maintenance needs of autonomous trucks, and to evaluate potential new business models and revenue streams to solve the needs of the self-driving trucking industry.

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