SPRINGDALE, ARK. – Mountain View, Calif.-based self-driving trucking company, Kodiak Robotics Inc. and C.R. England, a Salt Lake City, Utah-based transportation provider, launched a pilot program to autonomously ship Tyson Foods products between Dallas and San Antonio. The deliveries will launch this month and use Kodiak self-driving trucks and C.R. England refrigerated trailers. Safety drivers will be in the trucks in the initial stages of the pilot. Kodiak tests indicated self-driving trucks provide increased safety and reliability in an industry that needs truck drivers.

“Tyson Foods is pursuing the leading edge of technology in all aspects of our business, especially in transportation,” said Patrick Simmons, vice president of transportation at Tyson Foods. “Autonomous trucks are just one piece of the puzzle in this innovation journey to use technology to operate more efficiently and to help ensure our transportation loads are delivered in a timely fashion.”

C.R. England also joined Kodiak’s Partner Deployment Program through the partnership which will help carriers establish autonomous freight operations and integrate Kodiak's self-driving system, the Kodiak Driver, into their fleet. C.R. England’s fleet will also introduce a host of environmental and other benefits, including improved safety, reduced fuel consumption and lower carbon emissions.

“One of the categories where C.R. England is a leader is in perishable foods, which require the safest, most reliable, on-time delivery possible,” said Chad England, chief executive officer at C.R. England. “Kodiak’s proven performance and commitment to customer success makes it a great partner to help us introduce autonomous service into our operations. Working with Kodiak enables us to better understand how autonomous vehicles fit into our fleet of the future, while continuing to deliver high quality service and value to great customers like Tyson. By employing self-driving trucks, we can increase capacity and expedite deliveries without sacrificing customer service, as our valued drivers will take over to interface with customers and consignees at either end of the load. Our intent is to be a ‘one-stop shop’ for customers, whether they need their freight moved autonomously or not.”

C.R. England chose to partner with Kodiak due to the companies’ shared focus on safety, sustainability and reliability of service.

“C.R. England’s extensive premium service network provides the ideal scenario for the introduction of autonomous trucks,” said Don Burnette, founder and CEO, Kodiak. “The potential benefits of Kodiak’s technology are far-reaching — for shippers whose reputations are built on the freshness of their products, to end consumers who rely on companies like Tyson Foods to provide products they can trust. Our partnership with C.R. England will clearly demonstrate our value proposition of increasing safety, efficiency and reliability for Tyson Foods and the entire supply chain.”