Walmart Partners with Gatik to Use Fully Autonomous Delivery Trucks

Nov 8, 2021 By MarketDepth

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Walmart (NYSE: WMT) announced Monday that it has begun using autonomous trucks for its online grocery business as a means of increasing capacity and reducing incompetence. The driverless box truck service is in partnership with technology startup Gatik.

Currently Testing Two Driverless Trucks

The companies said that as of August, they had been running two driverless box trucks, with no safety driver, on a 7-mile loop for 12 hours per day. The trucks are filled with online grocery orders from a Walmart fulfillment center, “dark store,” and are then transported to a nearby Walmart in Bentonvillle, Arkansas.

Testing in Arkansas

According to the companies, the Arkansas route has “intersections, traffic lights and merging on dense urban roads.” A step forward for self-driving vehicles.

Launched in Dec 2020

The program was officially launched in December of 2020 after receiving approval from the Arkansas State Highway Commission. Additionally, the safety driver was withdrawn over the summer.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Gatik to achieve this industry-first, driverless milestone. 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.”

Walmart senior vice president Tom Ward

“Taking the driver out is the holy grail of this technology.” Gatik CEO Gautam Narang, who founded the company in 2017, told CNBC. “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.”

Application for Grocery Delivery

The retail giant is testing Gatik’s autonomous trucks as it strives to transition to a “hub and spoke” model for grocery delivery, meaning dark stores would be in closer proximity to consumers and used to aid various retail locations.