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Walmart is using driverless trucks to deliver goods in Arkansas

2021-11-08 18:28 by
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Walmart said Monday it has started using fully driverless trucking in its online grocery business, aiming to increase capacity and reduce inefficiencies. For that purpose, Walmart has partnered with autonomous vehicle startup Gatik.

"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.

Gatik has taken a different approach from other competitors in the autonomous vehicle sector. The Palo Alto-based startup isn't targeting consumers. Instead, Gatik uses its autonomous trucks to shuttle groceries and other goods from large distribution centers to retail locations. Gatik, which came out of stealth in 2019, has been shuttling goods for Walmart in Arkansas and Louisiana, and for Loblaw Companies Limited in Ontario, Canada.

Gatik focuses on fixed, repeatable delivery routes, which has allowed it to achieve a 100% safety record across multiple operational sites in North America. The company's trucks are able to operate on the Bentonville urban route that involves intersections, traffic lights, and merging.

Short urban routes are becoming more common as retailers like Walmart turn to hub-and-spoke distribution to fulfill growing online orders for same-day store pickup. Retailers need to be able to quickly move goods from micro-fulfillment centers to nearby stores.

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