Bridgestone joins forces with Kodiak to add ‘smart’ tire tech to autonomous trucks

Bridgestone joins forces with Kodiak to add ‘smart’ tire tech to autonomous trucks
Bridgestone Americas has taken a minority investment in Kodiak Robotics with a goal of incorporating smart tire tech into autonomous trucks. (Courtesy: Kodiak Robotics)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Bridgestone Americas announced last week that it has taken a minority investment in Kodiak Robotics, a U.S.-based self-driving truck company.

According to a June 16 statement, this will allow Bridgestone to integrate its smart-sensing tire technologies and fleet solutions into Kodiak’s Level 4 autonomous trucks. In addition, the two companies plan to pilot future autonomous and smart tire technologies to further enhance vehicle intelligence.

“Automated vehicles offer a number of benefits to commercial fleet customers and society, including safer roads with fewer unexpected incidents, and upwards of 20 percent savings in fuel and efficiency,” said Paolo Ferrari, who serves as global chief solutions officer for Bridgestone Corp. and president and CEO of Bridgestone Americas.

“Advancements in tire-centric technologies are critical to unlocking greater innovation in mobility, while also delivering significant sustainability benefits,” he continued. “This investment will enable Bridgestone and Kodiak to work together to co-develop advanced mobility solutions with speed and precision that will revolutionize commercial trucking.”

Kodiak’s fleet of Level 4 self-driving long-haul trucks, with a safety driver on board, move freight autonomously in the state of Texas, and the company plans to deploy driverless trucks in the next few years.

Full vehicle intelligence is vital to safe, efficient and sustainable autonomy, according to a prepared statement from the two companies. The statement also notes that Bridgestone’s cloud-based technologies use connected vehicle data to help predict tire health and maintenance and to optimize tire lifespan. Together, Bridgestone and Kodiak plan to link vehicle-based, smart-sensing tire technologies to improve safety and efficiency in the next generation of autonomous trucks.

“After an extensive diligence process, Bridgestone has chosen Kodiak as an autonomous trucking partner,” said Don Burnette, co-founder and CEO of Kodiak Robotics. “Bridgestone’s investment is a huge moment for Kodiak and a great validation of our industry-leading autonomous system.”

As part of the partnership, Nizar Trigui, chief technology officer and group president of solutions businesses for Bridgestone, will join Kodiak’s board of directors as an observer.

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