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Kodiak Unveils First Autonomous Vehicle Demonstrator for US Military

Autonomous solutions developer Kodiak has introduced its first unmanned test vehicle for US Department of Defense applications.

The vehicle combines the company’s proprietary Kodiak Driver software and a Ford F-150 pickup truck to enable military missions over complex terrain and GPS-contested environments. 

It also supports remote control depending on user requirements.

According to the California firm, the Kodiak Driver was integrated into the new vehicle in less than six months.

The quick maturation of the technology is credited to the software driver’s modular and vehicle-agnostic autonomous capabilities found in other autonomous long-haul trucks.

Alongside the autonomy system, Kodiak’s tactical vehicle prototype incorporates DefensePod, based on the firm’s modular SensorPod hardware, which is used for easier and faster maintenance tasks such as tire changes.

Kodiak Robotics, Inc. today unveiled its first autonomous test vehicle designed specifically for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Autonomous test vehicle based on Ford F-150. Photo: Kodiak Robotics

Revolutionizing Homeland Defense

Kodiak CEO and Founder Don Burnette said that its Kodiak Driver-powered vehicles will boost the US military’s “mission options and technical superiority” while retaining the safety of warfighters on the battlefield.

“We have built a comprehensive autonomous system that can be integrated into any vehicle, from a Class 8 truck, to a pickup, to a next-generation defense vehicle,” Burnette stated.

“Integrating Kodiak’s technology into an off-road capable vehicle shows the potential for commercial and dual-use technology to revolutionize national security, just as the Department of Defense is looking to ramp up its focus on autonomous technology.”

Supporting Autonomy for US Defense

Kodiak is working on a $50-million contract awarded in 2022 to develop an autonomous ground vehicle demonstrator for the US Defense Innovation Unit.

The effort required Kodiak to build and hand over two off-road capable vehicles based on the Ford F-150.

Trials of the systems began last month and will be followed by evaluations to integrate the autonomy structure into Kodiak’s purpose-built ground reconnaissance vehicle for military use.

The firm designed the vehicles according to the Army Product Manager Robotic Combat Vehicle’s Software Acquisition Pathways.

This strategy allows the agency to obtain software and hardware solutions separately, ensuring the best option for US military modernization.

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