Gatik Launches Fully Autonomous Driverless Routes in Canada

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Diving Brief:

  • Gatik has launched its first fully autonomous commercial truck operations in Canada, working with retailer Loblaw Companies to deliver grocery orders online, the startup announced Wednesday.
  • A fleet of fully autonomous refrigerated trucks make rounds for Loblaw’s PC Express service, the food retailer’s online pickup and delivery service.
  • The two companies launched their partnership in Toronto in January 2020 and now have five trucks operating 12 hours a day without a driver, according to Gatik.

Overview of the dive:

When the partnership began, Gatik used safety drivers in the trucks, and the companies noted that the shift to fully driverless operations comes as Loblaw faces growing demand. Customers now expect next-day, same-day and two-hour deliveries, Gatik co-founder and chief engineer Apeksha Kumavat said in a promotional video.

The cost savings and efficiencies of self-driving vehicles mean that intermediate operations between micro-distribution centers and retail stores can happen several times a day instead of once or twice a week, he said. she declared.

Gatik reached the fully self-contained milestone in the United States in 2021 with a program in Bentonville, Arkansas. Driverless trucks have started transporting customer orders between a dark Walmart store and a Neighborhood Market store, the company announced last November.

Industry competition has followed suit with similar technological breakthroughs. A month later, in December 2021, TuSimple also noted that its self-driving tractor-trailer operated “on open public roads with no humans in the vehicle and no human intervention.”

Eric Novak, a professor at Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology in Toronto, said other companies are very close, if not on par, with Gatik’s progress.

“In limited scope situations like what we’re seeing through this release, I don’t think we’re too far off from seeing more and more usage,” he wrote in a message to Transport Dive. “In controlled situations, today’s technology has been proven to be safe and effective through extensive testing.”

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