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Gatik goes driverless in Canada

Autonomous tech company removes safety driver from vehicles

Gatik has removed the safety driver from daily routes it is running for Loblaw in Canada. (Photo: Gatik)

Just over a year after it removed the safety driver from the driver’s seat in Arkansas, autonomous vehicle technology company Gatik has done it again — this time north of the border in Canada.

Gatik on Wednesday announced that it is now running fully driverless vehicles in Toronto with longtime partner Loblaw Companies. Gatik’s multi-temperature box trucks are transporting online grocery orders for Loblaw’s PC Express service.

“Working with Gatik, we’ve demonstrated that autonomous driving technology enables supply chain efficiency, moving more orders more frequently for our customers,” said David Markwell, chief technology and analytics officer for Loblaw, Canada’s largest retailer. “Being the first in Canada with this technology and deploying a fully driverless solution is exciting and illustrates our commitment to making grocery shopping better for customers.”

Gatik first removed the driver from a vehicle in August 2021 in Arkansas, where its trucks are transporting goods for Walmart (NYSE: WMT) between a dark store and a neighborhood market.

In Toronto, the vehicles being used at Ford models upfit with a temperature-controlled box.

The Loblaw (TSX: L.TO) program marks the first time a vehicle has operated in Canada without a driver behind the wheel. The two companies have worked together since January 2020, completing more than 150,000 autonomous deliveries (with a safety driver) with no incidents, Gatik said.

“This milestone marks the expansion of Gatik’s autonomous delivery service to Loblaw’s customers across multiple sites,” said Gautam Narang, CEO and co-founder of Gatik. “Canada is the latest market in which we’ve launched our fully driverless service, further validating that the tangible benefits of autonomous delivery are being realized first in B2B short-haul logistics. It’s a privilege to achieve this commercial and technical landmark with Canada’s largest retailer.”

In September, Gatik, which focuses exclusively on point-to-point middle-mile autonomy, announced it would begin running e-commerce routes for Pitney Bowes in the Dallas market in the first quarter of 2023.

Pitney Bowes (NYSE: PBI) is the second major customer Gatik has announced it is working with in the Texas region. In June, the company announced a partnership with KBX Logistics to replace 53-foot tractor trailers on a short-haul route with Gatik’s Class 6 Isuzu FTR 26-foot box trucks. Those trucks are hauling product seven days a week from Georgia-Pacific facilities in the area to 34 local Sam’s Club stores

Isuzu and Gatik first announced a partnership in April 2021 when Gatik said it would install its driverless technology in Isuzu’s Class 3 N-Series trucks. Cummins is an engine supplier for Isuzu as well as most other truck makers. Earlier in August, Gatik and Cummins announced an agreement in which Gatik will supply its autonomous vehicle technology to Cummins (NYSE: CMI) for integration with that firm’s advanced powertrain software to enable the use of drive-by-wire in autonomous vehicles.

Gatik has industry partnerships with Goodyear (NASDAQ: GT) for tire-related services, Ryder (NYSE: R) for vehicle lease and maintenance services, and with electric vehicle charging infrastructure company ChargePoint.

Click for more articles by Brian Straight.

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight leads FreightWaves' Modern Shipper brand as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler. You can reach him at [email protected]