Walmart has announced the start of truly driverless operations in their Walmart has announced the start of truly driverless operations in their hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas beginning next year. This marks a major new phase for the company, placing the mega-retailer at the forefront of the driverless freight movement. Working with startup Gatik, temperature-controlled automated delivery box trucks will carry goods from a local distribution center to a neighborhood market.
Launched in 2017, Gatik is focused on B2B short-haul logistics, i.e. the “middle mile” shuttling goods between warehouses and retail outlets. Gatik’s first announced customer was Walmart, with whom they’ve been conducting trials on a two mile route for over a year. “We’ve safely driven more than 70,000 operational miles in autonomous mode with a safety driver” during this trial, said Tom Ward, Walmart’s SVP of Customer Product.
Gatik’s approach to early deployment hinges on operating exclusively on fixed, repeatable routes.