Bridgestone Patents Land Kodiak Robotics A Spot in the Autonomous Truck Race

In June of 2021, Bridgestone Americas (Bridgestone Tire Corporation) signed on to be an investor for Kodiak Robotics. Kodiak is a Silicon Valley developer of technology for autonomous trucks. Not only did Bridgestone agree to invest in the company, it is supplying Kodiak with its sensor-loaded “smart” tires. While the actual price of the investment is not disclosed, the CTO of Bridgestone is also joining the board of directors for Kodiak.

Bridgestone’s tire sensors monitor pressure and temperature, but most importantly measure load and force. Both of which are critical for the application of an autonomous truck as weight distribution plays an important role in vehicle dynamics like controllability and maneuverability. The companies also plan to work together in piloting future autonomous and smart tire technologies to further enhance vehicle intelligence. This is important as society is advancing toward a safer, more efficient, and more sustainable future. By automating vehicles, like semi-trucks, there are safer roads with fewer unexpected incidents, and upwards of 20 percent savings in fuel and efficiency. All of these vehicles will also have a safety driver on board, given a circumstance that an autonomous vehicle can’t handle or predict.

The self-driving truck space is not new and is led by companies like Waymo, TuSimple, and Aurora Innovations. Kodiak is definitely the underdog in this market but has already raised $43 million since 2018. It also already has a fleet of 11 semi-trucks that are based in Dallas, Texas. This investment is pretty huge considering Bridgestone has had 35 patent assets published in the last five years for autonomous tire sensors. Kodiak is making exponential strides in the autonomous trucking market and we can expect to see other autonomous tire companies make efforts to get into the autonomous trucking market.

For more updates in autonomous tire sensors, check out the Autonomous Tire Sensors Radian on Patent Forecast®!