Self-Driving Truck Handles Bombastic Blowouts Gracefully

by Mat Dirjish

In the video below, self-driving trucking company Kodiak Robotics demonstrates how its Kodiak Driver autonomous-vehicle technology can maintain complete control of a truck when it suffers a catastrophic tire blowout. The video shows a Kodiak self-driving truck rolling over a test rig that ruptures the front driver-side tire of a Kodiak Class 8 tractor while the autonomous technology is engaged. Kodiak Driver stays in control while and after the tire explodes and brings the truck to a safe and complete stop while maintaining its lane.

One of several safety features of Kodiak’s self-driving trucks is their ability to instantly react to a radical change in vehicle dynamics. With the blown tire, the truck compensates for the flat tire by applying a different steering angle. Another safety feature, Kodiak trucks consistently maintain their lane positioning.

Essentially, Kodiak’s fallback technology guides the company’s trucks to a safe stop in the event of a critical system failure. At the time of blowout, the autonomous system immediately detects the tire fault, identifies and adapts to a change in vehicle dynamics, initiates the fallback protocol, triggers hazard lights on, and brings the truck to a stop within the lane.

Of the demonstration, Don Burnette, Kodiak Robotics’ founder and CEO, said, “People ask us all the time, what happens if you blow a tire? So we wanted to showcase how the Kodiak Driver can maintain control more precisely than a traditional truck, even with a completely destroyed tire. We can’t control the hazards trucks will face on the open road, but we can control how the trucks behave when a critical situation occurs.”

Kodiak Robotics is currently partnering with IKEA, Werner, and Pilot Company. The company delivers freight daily along four routes in Texas and Oklahoma, operating autonomously on the highway portions of the routes. For more information, peruse the Kodiak Driver overview.

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