Walmart is teaming with startup Gatik AI to use driverless vehicles to make deliveries in their home base of Bentonville, Arkansas. The vehicles will be delivering customer online grocery orders from Walmart’s main warehouse to two Bentonville neighborhood stores. Arkansas passed legislation back in March allowing driverless vehicles to operate in the state.
As far as the vehicles go, they’ll be using Ford Transit Connect vans retrofitted with self-driving technology. The vans will be traveling during daylight hours seven days a week on a two-mile route. According to the company, they’ll be making about 10 trips per day. During the testing period, the vehicles will have a human inside the vehicle as a safety precaution.
“We aim to learn more about the logistics of adding autonomous vehicles into our online grocery ecosystem, operation process changes and more opportunities to incorporate this emerging technology,” said Tom Ward, Senior Vice President, Digital Operations, Walmart U.S. in a blog posting.
Gatik Claims Driverless Tech Can Cut Costs by 50%
Palo Alto-based Gatik has been testing driverless vehicles on California roads since 2018. They utilize level 4 self-driving technology which means the vehicles do not require human interaction in most circumstances. The company claims that using the technology can cut transportation costs in city environments by 50%. To date, they have raised $4.5 million in seed funding.
“We’re always out to help our customers, and that means helping them save time and money. So, we’re using our position of strength to reinvent the shopping experience to take us, and busy families, well into the future,” said Ward.
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