Ike has always done things differently from the rest of Silicon Valley's self-driving companies.
Executives from the autonomous trucking startup have fastidiously avoided public road testing and frowned upon using miles driven as a metric of overall progress. Last year, Ike became the first company not actually testing on public roads to file a safety self-assessment with federal regulators.
Ike's outlier status will soon change. The company says it will be in limited testing along Interstate 280 in the Bay Area this month. While most companies might consider that a landmark moment, Ike CEO Alden Woodrow says it's the "least exciting milestone" the company has recently crossed.
Woodrow points to a slate of new partnerships with some of the biggest logistics companies in the industry, including DHL, Ryder and NFI, as more adrenaline-pumping developments at 2-year-old Ike. As part of multiyear agreements, those three companies, plus others not yet disclosed, have reserved the first 1,000 Class 8 tractors outfitted with Ike's self-driving systems.
When might those hit the road? In another detour from Silicon Valley convention, Woodrow isn't concerned with deadlines and deployments. He prefers a more measured approach.
"There's a difference between slow and patient," he told Automotive News. "I'd not describe us as slow. I'd describe us as patient."