BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Trucking company Gatik and Walmart announced Monday that Gatik is operating without a safety driver behind the wheel of its delivery route for Walmart in Bentonville, according to a press release.
The move marks the first time that an autonomous trucking company has removed the safety driver from a commercial delivery route on the middle mile anywhere in the world.
The route moves customer orders between a Walmart dark store and a Neighborhood Market in Bentonville, using Gatik’s fleet of multi-temperature autonomous box trucks.
“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,” said Tom Ward, senior vice president of last mile at Walmart U.S. “We’re thrilled to be working with Gatik to achieve this industry-first, driverless milestone in our home state of Arkansas and look forward to continuing to use this technology to serve Walmart customers with speed.”
According to the press release, in December 2020, Gatik and Walmart received the Arkansas State Highway Commission’s first-ever approval to remove the safety driver from Gatik’s autonomous trucks, after 18 months of successful operations.
“This milestone signifies a revolutionary breakthrough for the autonomous trucking industry,” said Gautam Narang, CEO and co-founder, Gatik. “Our deployment in Bentonville is not a one-time demonstration. These are frequent, revenue-generating, daily runs that our trucks are completing safely in a range of conditions on public roads, demonstrating the commercial and technical advantages of fully driverless operations on the middle mile.”
Since the company commenced commercial operations in 2019, Gatik says it’s achieved a 100% safety record across multiple operational sites in North America, including Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, and Ontario.