Self-driving startup Gatik to double workforce, strikes Kroger deal

Self-driving trucking startup Gatik will double its workforce by year end, a top executive said, after it announced a deal on Wednesday with grocer Kroger Co (KR.N) to transport goods within its Dallas, Texas network.

Gatik, which operates traditional mid-sized trucks fitted with its autonomous technology, aimed to expand to 15 new U.S. states over five years, CEO Gautam Narang told Reuters.

The company focuses on transportation over short, fixed routes for businesses.

Many in the autonomous driving industry are cutting staff or shutting down, but Gatik has found a niche by limiting its work to routes with relatively little complexity.

It delivers goods, for example, from larger distribution centers to retail locations for companies such as Walmart and Pitney Bowes. The company has hauled more than half a million customer orders on its mid-sized box trucks that have no human in the cab.