The current autonomous vehicle (AV) market is divided. This past year alone, we’ve watched the industry as a whole slowly realize they’ve bitten off more than they could chew, and take a reality check on being able to put a truly driverless car — the car that can go anywhere anytime, without human help — on the road today. The hype has died down, specifically around passenger transportation, and many players are tapping the brakes (pun intended) on immediate deployment because their vehicles aren’t ready and they remain stuck in R&D. And on the other end, several industry players are bogged down in phases of pilot programs to really determine the use cases and how to effectively commercialize their technology.
Where does Gatik land in this field? Nowhere.
Why? Because Gatik’s goal is to deploy autonomous vehicles that actually integrate into customer supply chains, for real deliveries today — not just for a one-off demo or short-term pilot program.
By choosing to serve businesses and focusing on the middle-mile of delivery — the most expensive part of a business’ supply chain — we are able to skip short-term pilot phases and deploy autonomous commercial services that build delivery experiences within the fabric of neighborhoods.
Today we’re thrilled to announce that the Arkansas Highway Commissioner’s office has approved our plans to launch our commercial service with Walmart, the world’s largest retailer. This partnership is a first in the AV industry — this kind of integration with a customer has never been done before. It marks the first-ever deployment of a hub-and-spoke autonomous vehicle delivery model, and is a significant proof point that commercialization and scalability of autonomous vehicles will happen first in B2B short-haul logistics.
Gatik’s autonomous vehicles are hitting the roads today and will be responsible for delivering customer online grocery orders from Walmart’s main warehouse in Bentonville, Arkansas to its regional Neighborhood Markets.
After testing with other AV companies, Walmart selected Gatik for this program as it will afford the company the opportunity to learn more about the logistics of adding AVs into their online grocery ecosystem, operation, and process changes. By choosing Gatik, Walmart will cut their operation costs significantly while improving safety, increasing efficiency, and reducing road congestion and emissions. We see incredible opportunity to bring Gatik’s autonomous vehicles to Walmart’s hub-and-spoke operations as we look to add more routes and sites in the future.
This is only the beginning for Gatik as we develop plans to launch our short-haul AV delivery service with more partners and expanding a wide variety of use cases in the coming months. Stay tuned!