Applied Hosts Congressional Delegation at Silicon Valley HQ

Sep 1, 2022

Applied Intuition proudly hosted a Congressional delegation at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California. Rep. Rob Wittman (VA-01), the Ranking Member on the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, visited Applied Intuition to learn about commercial and defense autonomy, and how start-up and non-traditional technology companies are driving defense innovation. Rep. Wittman also had the opportunity for a test drive in an autonomous truck developed by Applied Intuition partner Kodiak Robotics. Policymakers in Congress increasingly recognize the vital role of Silicon Valley’s dual-use technology companies in developing cutting-edge capabilities, deterring adversaries, and maintaining American security. 

“Coming from Virginia, where nearly 20 percent of our economy is driven by the defense ecosystem, I am deeply aware of how important it is for Congress to tackle defense innovation opportunities and challenges to secure the future of the US military and our nation’s economic strength,” said Rep. Wittman. “Applied Intuition and Kodiak have a wealth of expertise about the nexus of defense and commercial technologies, demonstrated by their remarkable work on autonomous systems. It was a privilege to meet with their teams and I look forward to our continued work on spurring modernization and innovation within the Department of Defense.”  

Rep. Wittman received presentations from Applied Intuition Co-Founders Qasar Younis and Peter Ludwig, as well as Kodiak Robotics CEO Don Burnette. Kodiak Robotics, founded in 2018 to develop self-driving long-haul trucks, has used Applied Intuition’s simulation platform as the foundation of its testing program since it was founded. 

Figure 1: Rep. Rob Wittman with Applied Intuition Co-Founders Qasar Younis and Peter Ludwig.

“I was honored to welcome Representative Wittman to Applied Intuition’s headquarters,” said Qasar Younis, Co-Founder and CEO of Applied Intuition. “As a champion of national security issues and as vice ranking member of the House Committee on Armed Services, Rep. Wittman contributed his expertise to our discussion on the state of defense and commercial autonomy programs and the considerable opportunities that safe and effective autonomous systems enable across domains. I look forward to working with Congress to accelerate the development and adoption of safe and trusted autonomy.”  

Following a lively discussion about defense autonomy programs, Rep. Wittman joined Kodiak CEO Don Burnette for a ride in an autonomous truck powered by the Kodiak Driver, the company’s commercial autonomy stack.

“We were honored to work with Applied Intuition to host Representative Wittman and discuss the future of critical dual-use autonomous technologies,” said Don Burnette, Founder and CEO of Kodiak Robotics. “Kodiak’s partnership with Applied Intuition has been foundational to the development of the Kodiak Driver, for both commercial and defense applications. We thank Representative Wittman for his continued leadership on defense innovation issues, and look forward to working with Congress to bring the benefits of autonomous technology to all Americans.”

Figure 2: Rep. Wittman in front of a Kodiak Robotics truck, alongside Applied Intuition and Kodiak Robotics leadership and staff.

In addition to its commercial trucking applications, Kodiak was awarded an AFWERX Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract to develop autonomous vehicles for the Dover Air Force Base (Dover AFB) flightline in 2021. As part of the SBIR contract, Kodiak developed a digital twin of Dover AFB with Applied’s simulation tools and subsequently demonstrated the Kodiak Driver’s ability to navigate a range of on-base scenarios and obstacles. 

“We were thrilled to have the Kodiak Robotics team join us to meet with Representative Wittman,” said Peter Ludwig, Co-Founder and CTO of Applied Intuition. “Our partnership with Kodiak showcases how modeling and simulation tools enable the development of autonomous vehicles for both commercial and defense use cases. Increased and targeted DOD funding will continue to facilitate these partnerships and accelerate the innovation needed to ensure our nation stays on the cutting edge.”

Figure 3: The Kodiak autonomous truck parked in front of Applied Intuition's Mountain View, California headquarters.

Building on Nexus 22 earlier this year and this recent Congressional delegation, Applied Intuition continues to lead the way in engaging and educating policymakers about the national security imperative for autonomy. By bringing commercially-proven technologies to the defense space, dual-use technology companies like Applied Intuition support American security amid a rapidly-shifting geopolitical environment. 

Providing Members of Congress with a first-hand look at cutting-edge autonomous systems is essential to building an understanding of the use cases, safety, and other considerations associated with autonomous systems and related technologies. Applied Intuition continues to work to bridge the divide between commercial and defense autonomy programs, bringing commercial expertise in autonomy to policymakers in Washington, D.C.