Self-driving trucking company Kodiak Robotics has teamed up with US Xpress, one of America’s largest carrier fleets, to run a Level 4 autonomous freight service between Dallas-Fort Worth and Atlanta, a distance of over 750 miles.

In the pilot run carried out last month, the Kodiak Robotics tractor with pre-loaded trailers completed four continuous round-trips, running 24 hours a day for a total of 131 total hours and covering 6,350 miles. A rotating team of Kodiak safety drivers oversaw the autonomous system.

Kodiak has been delivering freight daily on the 240-mile lane from Dallas to Houston since mid-2019, and on the 280-mile lane between Dallas and San Antonio since mid-2021. The Atlanta route is believed to be the first to connect to the East Coast.

Don Burnette, Founder and CEO of Kodiak, says, “Our partnership with US Xpress marks our service expansion to the East Coast. We believe it is the furthest east any company has delivered multiple loads using autonomous technology. Having the capacity to sustain 24/7 operations across the more than 750 miles between Dallas and Atlanta — two of our nation’s busiest freight hubs — represents a giant step forward for Kodiak, and for the AV trucking industry as a whole.

“This pilot demonstrated to our operations teams and our customers the benefits that can come with autonomous technology,” adds Eric Fuller, President and CEO of US Xpress. “We fundamentally believe that Kodiak’s autonomous technology will allow us to scale our fleet while increasing truck utilisation compared to a human-driven truck. Our strategic partnership is helping both of our teams identify ways to quickly integrate and scale autonomous technology into our fleet once it is commercially available.”