Self-driving company Kodiak Robotics hauls freight for CEVA in Texas, Oklahoma

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AUSTIN, Texas, March 9 (Reuters) - Kodiak Robotics on Wednesday said it has partnered with France-based CEVA Logistics to transport freight in self-driving trucks across Texas and Oklahoma, marking the latest autonomous trucking partnership in the region.

Kodiak said it began delivering loads for CEVA, which is subsidiary of French shipping company CMA CGM (CMACG.UL), in November and has since moved goods on a weekly basis on the roughly 200 mile (320 km) stretch between Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin in Texas.

The companies in February started to also started to transport goods between Dallas-Fort Worth and Oklahoma City, also a roughly 200 mile distance.

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California-based Kodiak Robotics said the latest route made it the first self-driving freight delivery company to operate in Oklahoma.

While the trucks are using the company's self-driving sensor and software suite, a safety driver remains behind the wheel at all times, a spokeswoman said.

"Kodiak and CEVA are focused on serving Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin and Oklahoma City, because they cover some of the richest freight corridors in the U.S.," Kodiak Chief Executive Don Burnette said in a statement.

Texas and the extended U.S. South have become a testing center for the growing self-driving trucking industry. At least four autonomous trucking companies are testing in Texas, where weather and regulation are favorable to the companies. read more

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Reporting by Tina Bellon in Austin; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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