Kodiak Robotics, a young American self-driving truck company, is exploring a joint venture with the holding firm of South Korean conglomerate SK Group to gain a foothold in the Asian market. This was reported by Reuters with reference to the co-founder of the company.
The company, formed three years ago by Don Burnette, a former Waymo engineer who is also the co-founder of self-driving truck company Otto, aims to produce trucks that can drive without drivers in 2023.
Its competitors are companies such as Waymo and Aurora, which have shifted their focus to trucking services as the robotaxi market has stagnated despite years of development.
In the field of trucking, there is a shortage of personnel, while the demand for delivery is growing due to the popularity of e-commerce in the context of the pandemic.
Still, Burnett said, it will take “more than ten years” for the technology to become ubiquitous given the speed of fleet renewal.
Kodiak Robotics has already announced a partnership with SK Holdings to help bring Kodiak Driver, the company’s autonomous driving technology, to Asia-Pacific markets such as Korea and China.
The issue of creating a joint venture, according to SK Holdings, is in the early stages of discussion.
SK Holdings, Korea’s third-largest conglomerate, whose business interests range from microchips and batteries to telecommunications services, said it is exploring investment opportunities in auto companies.