Walmart Now Deploying ‘Fully Driverless’ Delivery Trucks
Bentonville, AR — Walmart is now deploying autonomous box trucks with no safety driver onboard along a daily delivery route in Arkansas.
On Monday, the retail giant announced that in partnership with Gatik, a California-based autonomous trucking company, it is operating “fully driverless” delivery trucks every day on a route in Bentonville, AR.
The multi-temperature autonomous box trucks are moving customer orders between a Walmart dark store and a Neighborhood Market.
“The complex urban route in Bentonville involves safely navigating intersections, traffic lights and merging on dense urban roads,” Walmart said.
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, following the completion of 18 months’ successful test operations.
“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.
Gatik CEO and co-founder, Gautam Narang, called the driverless milestone a “revolutionary breakthrough” for the autonomous trucking industry.
“Our deployment in Bentonville is not a one-time demonstration,” Narang said. “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.”
Gatik focuses exclusively on “middle mile” operations along fixed and repeatable delivery routes.
The company said this factor has led to achieving the removal of the safety driver much more quickly compared to other applications, such as passenger transportation or business to consumer delivery.
WATCH a video below demonstrating driverless box trucks complete daily deliveries for Walmart.