Can Kodiak Robotics compete with the big boys of autonomous trucking?

Kodiak Robotics is one of several Silicon Valley autonomous trucking software developers. But it gets less attention than players that started earlier. It also lacks the fundraising and manufacturer partnerships that competitors have.

TuSimple’s public trading debut, the reputational credit given to Google-backed Waymo Via and partner-rich Aurora Innovation crowd out Kodiak. China-backed Plus generates significantly more headlines. More recently, Embark Trucks has, too…

As a master’s student in robotics at Carnegie Mellon University in the late 2000s, Burnette was among a pioneering group of self-driving technologists associated with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) self-driving vehicle competitions.

Burnette worked with Chris Urmson as a technical leader on Google’s self-driving car team before Urmson went on to co-found Aurora. Burnette co-founded now-defunct Ottomotto LLC in 2016. It was acquired by Uber and shuttered two years later. He left before the doors closed and started Mountain View, California-based Kodiak in 2018 with venture capitalist Paz Eshel.