For a while now, business-to-business short-haul logistic company Gatik has been using autonomous trucks to transport goods here and there. One of the company’s biggest partners is Walmart, and the two announced this week the achievement of a major milestone.
18 months after it came onto the market, and about eight since it received approval from the Arkansas State Highway Commission to go for autonomous driving without a safety driver, Gatik says it’s finally (and safely) done it.
The feat was achieved on a route that links a Walmart dark store in Bentonville, Arkansas, to a Neighborhood Market. A route, we’re told, that has been for some time, as far back as August, used by these truly driverless trucks. The route is in fact a 7-mile (11 km) loop that can be kept open thanks to the autonomous trucks around the clock.
According to Gatik, this is the first time ever when “an autonomous trucking company has removed the safety driver from a commercial delivery route on the middle mile anywhere in the world.”
We’re not told what future expansion plans Gatik has for the tech, but seeing more of these around is a safe bet. The company already has similar services running elsewhere, including Texas, Louisiana and Ontario.