Walmart and Gatik Continue to Expand Driverless Delivery

By Thomas Price Friday, January 29, 2021

As more companies begin to embrace modern technology to create a more efficient and cost-effective business model, the presence of automation is going to continue to grow. This is especially true for a company like Walmart, which has been pouring significant resources into creating an entirely automated delivery process. After partnering with startup, Gatik, the company has made incredible progress in this endeavor already. As Walmart’s online and delivery based business continues to expand, so will the automated delivery system. This has been most recently seen in the company’s decision to start testing their automated delivery beyond its current locations of operation and into new territories.

Closeup of the Walmart website.

Walmart’s Automated Delivery

Walmart began its automated delivery experiment under very specific and small settings. After partnering with startup Gatik based in both Toronto and Palo Alto, the company began testing out driverless delivery vehicles. The retail company began initial testing of autonomous vehicles on a two-mile stretch of road between a dark store and a Neighborhood Market in Bentonville, Arkansas. The testing was done with a safety driver in the vehicle to ensure that the startup technology was sound, and so far, the business venture has been an unmitigated success.

In fact, since the company launched the project in late 2019, there have been over 70,000 operational miles driven with no major incidents at all. The success of this project can be largely attributed to the business expertise and resources of Walmart in combination with the startup, Gatik’s incredible technology. The startup has developed a temperature-controlled box truck that comes equipped with software and physical sensors that have enabled safe and secure deliveries without the need for a driver. The success of these efforts has prompted the company to expand its business in several different directions.

Walmart’s Planned Expansion and New Business Deals

Walmart has recently announced an expansion of the automated delivery system with the help of Gatik into Louisiana. The company will now be operating on a 20-mile route between New Orleans and Metairie in order to create higher convenience for Metairie residents. On top of this news, the company also plans to phase out safety drivers and observe the automated vehicles with the help of the startup in order to gather data and continue to manage the results. Outside of the startup, Walmart is doing business with a series of other companies to see which will yield the best results for the logistics demand that the retail giant will have. Some of these companies include Waymo, Cruise, Nuro, Udelv, Baidu, Ford, and Postmates.

When commenting on this new automated delivery business expansion and its possible benefits, Senior Vice President of Customer Products Tom Ward said in a statement, “Our trials with Gatik are just two of many use cases we’re testing with autonomous vehicles, and we’re excited to continue learning how we might incorporate them in a delivery ecosystem.”

About the Author

Headshot for author Thomas Price

Tom Price is a writer focusing on Entertainment and Sports Features. He has a degree from NYU in English with a minor in Creative Writing. He has been previously published for Washington Square News, Dignitas, CBR, and Numbers on the Boards.

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