(by Leonardo Blair | Christian Post) – Two years after partnering with autonomous vehicle startup Gatik AI to get goods delivered using autonomous vehicles, multinational retail giant Walmart Inc. said it is beginning to use fully driverless trucks to deliver online grocery orders in Arkansas.
Gatik, founded in 2017 by veterans of the autonomous technology industry with established offices in Palo Alto, California, and Toronto, Ontario, is on a mission is “to deliver goods safely and efficiently using autonomous vehicles,” according to its website. The company’s focus is on “short-haul, business to business logistics for the retail industry.”
In 2019, after receiving approval from the Arkansas Highway Commissioner’s office to launch a commercial service, the company began shuttling goods for Walmart in Bentonville using two self-driving box trucks with a safety operator behind the wheel.
In a first for the autonomous vehicle industry, Walmart and Gatik announced Monday that the trucks are now operating without a safety driver.
“We’re thrilled to be working with Gatik to achieve this industry-first, driverless milestone,” Walmart Senior Vice President Tom Ward said in a statement. “Through our work with Gatik, we’ve identified that autonomous box trucks offer an efficient, safe and sustainable solution for transporting goods on repeatable routes between our stores.”
Gatik CEO Gautam Narang told CNBC that “taking the driver out is the holy grail of this technology.”
“Having the trust from the world’s largest retailer has been a massive boost for what we do and is a validation for our technology, our solution, our progress,” Narang stressed.
Since Gatik began moving goods for Walmart in Arkansas and Louisiana and Loblaw Companies Limited in Ontario, it has expanded into Texas following a Series B fundraising round of $85 million, according to Tech Crunch.
The company now has a fleet of 25 self-driving trucks operating in Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, California and Canada.
Gatik began its driverless operations in August, according to TechCrunch. The company has five self-driving trucks operating in Arkansas for Walmart, including the two fully driverless vehicles, which operate seven days per week. The trucks run a 7.1-mile route between a Walmart fulfillment center and a neighborhood market. Read Full Article >