IKEA is using driverless trucks to move its furniture in Texas
Texas is the nation’s testing ground for driverless vehicles, thanks to its mild climate and extensive highway network. Since a few years, the state’s highways have seen goods, from cargo to produce, travel in a partially driverless mode (the trucks use an autonomous mode for highways but safety drivers take control to navigate city streets). Furniture is now another cargo type that autonomous trucks are transporting through Texas. This week, Kodiak Robotics revealed a partnership with IKEA to transport their products via a self-driving heavy-duty truck.
Kodiak has moved furniture and other IKEA products since August. However, the companies conducted a test period before making their agreement public. The route goes from an IKEA warehouse in Baytown east of Houstin to a Frisco store, which is 290 miles north of Dallas. The highway 45 is mostly straight.
The vehicle, like the self-driving vehicles that came before it has a safety operator on board. The driver picks up the trailers in the morning at the distribution centre and assists with driving when needed. They reach the store in the late afternoon. It’s a long drive for a heavy duty truck, about five hours.