Gatik adds autonomous box trucks to its ‘middle mile’ game plan
Gatik, the autonomous vehicle startup has come up with autonomous fleet solutions to tackle expensive urban logistics for businesses. It has added box trucks to its fleet as Walmart and other customers look for ways to enhance efficiency and shore up the supply chain in the middle of surging demand from consumers ordering goods online.
Gatik in July 2019, launched a commercial service with Walmart to deliver online grocery orders. At first, Gatik used light commercial trucks and vans. It’s box trucks range in size between 11 and 20-ft long, can deliver ambient, cold, and frozen goods. Each vehicle finished between 6 to 15 runs a day.
“Micro fulfillment or distribution centers are all the rage right now — that’s basically the wave that we’re riding,” Gautam Narang said. “Companies are targeting warehouse automation for micro fulfillment centers. They’re automating the warehouses, and we’re automating the on-road logistics.”
Grocery chains were struggling to keep up with the growing demand for online grocery pickup and delivery even before the COVID-19 pandemic. But Narang expects that demand for online grocery pickup and delivery will increase. Gatik has already seen a 30% to 35% upward trend in the number of runs it fulfilled each day in order to meet demand.
“I think this is going to last because the crisis is shaping how consumers do their shopping,” Narang said.
At last, Gatik will pull the human safety driver out of the vehicle. It’s an achievable goal, Narang added, because the company has concentrated on repeatable pre-determined routes and has introduced constraints that simplify the technical challenge. For instance, Gatik vehicles don’t make multiple lane changes and only make right turns.