The degree of maturity of an industry can be seen in the transition from an everything-is-permitted culture to one where the start-ups and companies involved focus on responsible handling of data, as well as making sure not lives are harmed or lost. In recent months, we have seen the publication of several safety reports by the developers of self-driving technologies, ranging from Tesla to Robomart.
Now joining them is the start-up Kodiak Robotics, which was founded in 2018 and is based in Mountain View. The Safety Report 2020 addresses the most important questions regarding the technologies used, safety processes, the safety culture in the company and the experiences to date. The technology called Kodiak Driver is designed to enable vehicles to drive fully autonomously on the highway. However, the vehicle is controlled by a human driver from the starting point to the highway ramp and from the highway exit to the final destination. The highway stretch itself is controlled by the Kodiak Driver.
The report also explains how the security drivers are trained and what interventions they must carry out or what is expected of them. The report also talks about the sensors used, the decision and planning models, the redundancy of the systems, and the simulations that the start-up uses to improve the algorithms alongside the real-world trips.
Especially interesting for European thinking is the fact that Kodiak is currently making no effort to let the vehicle communicate with the outside world through V2V or V2X connections. V2V and V2X is deemed to be crucial by European developers (and used as an excuse to explain, why companies there are far behind US-based developers). Not using V2V or V2X connections is done for cyber security reasons, so as not to provide attackers with any entry points of attack.
Kodiak currently operates 10 test trucks, with the fully autonomous test drives taking place in Texas, while in California the technology tests are performed in a driver assistance mode.
This way to the Kodiak Safety Report.
This article was also published in German.