Ikea has teamed up with Kodiak Robotics, a company working on unmanned technology for long-haul trucking, to test unmanned deliveries from its warehouses. As part of the experiment, an autonomous truck delivers Ikea products from one of the warehouses to the store on a daily basis.
Since August this year, an autonomous Kodiak heavy-duty truck has been delivering furniture every day. one day from one of the IKEA distribution centers near Houston to a retail store near Dallas. With a supervising driver behind the wheel of the truck tasked with lifting the loaded trailer and overseeing the delivery, the truck autonomously navigates long stretches of highway during its 300-mile one-way journey.
Through this partnership, IKEA hopes to better understand how autonomous transport can make long-distance travel safer and improve the working conditions of truck drivers. Although Kodiak trucks are not electric, it’s worth noting that a study by the University of California, San Diego, using vehicles from another development company, found that autonomous trucks are about 10 percent more efficient than their conventional counterparts. According to Forbes, the two companies have agreed on a three-month pilot program, but if all goes well, they may even enter into a multi-year contract that will affect many Ikea stores and warehouses, according to Engadget.
In recent months, the Swedish brand home furniture companies also introduced other types of technological developments. In June, the company launched a new AI-powered app that can scan rooms with LIDAR to create 3D copies that can then be virtually furnished with Ikea furniture. This is expected to make purchasing decisions much easier. So far, it has only made a gesture to American EV owners by signing an agreement to install Electrify America fast chargers in more than 25 of its stores.
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