NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Bridgestone Americas Inc. is taking a stake in a self-driving trucking company.
The move to invest in Kodiak Robotics gives Bridgestone an opportunity to use its smart-sensing tire technologies in Kodiak's autonomous vehicles now operating in Texas.
"Automated vehicles offer a number of benefits to commercial fleet customers and society, including safer roads with fewer unexpected incidents, and upward of 20 percent savings in fuel and efficiency," Bridgestone Americas CEO Paolo Ferrari said in a statement.
"Advancements in tire-centric technologies are critical to unlocking greater innovation in mobility, while also delivering significant sustainability benefits. 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," said Ferrari, who also serves as global chief solutions officer for Bridgestone Corp., the parent of Bridgestone Americas of Nashville.
Kodiak was founded in 2018 and now has autonomous vehicles on the road.
The company hauls cargo between the Dallas-Fort Worth area and Houston and uses its autonomous technology during the highway portion of the trips. This takes place while a safety driver is in the vehicle.
Bridgestone brings cloud-based technologies to predict tire health, maintenance and lifespan to the new partnership. The company's vehicle platform technologies also provide tire information to vehicle safety and autonomous systems on the trucks.
"Bridgestone's investment is a huge moment for Kodiak and a great validation of our industry-leading autonomous system," Kodiak Robotics CEO Don Burnette said in a statement. "Kodiak and Bridgestone will work together to advance self-driving trucking technology, from tires and sensors to predictive maintenance."
Nizar Trigui, Bridgestone's chief technology officer, is joining Kodiak's board as an observer.