The autonomous vehicle startup, Gatik, is officially on the road through a partnership with Walmart. The startup aims for the sweet middle spot in the world of logistic. The company is ready to launch a commercial service with Walmart, after receiving the approval from the Arkansas Highway Commissioner’s office.
Gatik’s autonomous vehicles will also have a human safety driver behind the wheel. These vehicles will deliver customer online grocery orders from Walmart’s main warehouse to its neighborhood stores in Bentonville, Arkansas.
The aim of these vehicles is to travel seven days a week on a two-mile route, may be its the shortest one for Walmart’s overall business. But, obviously the goal of the company is not to be very common right now. However, this project is being used by Walmart to collect the useful data that will help the company to learn that how these autonomous vehicle will best integrate into their stores and services.
Ford transit vehicles are being used by the Gatik, which are outfitted with a self-driving system. According to the Co-founder and CEO Gautam Narang of the company, all the need of these vehicles in the market can be fulfilled by the company. The need can be fulfilled by using a variety of use cases, including partnering with third-party logistics giants like Amazon, FedEx, even the U.S. Postal Service, auto part distributors, consumer goods, food and beverage distributors as well as medical and pharmaceutical companies.
In a seed round led by former CEO and executive chairman of Google Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors, the company has raised $4.5 million, after it arose from stealth in June. AngelPad, Dynamo Fund, Fontinalis Partners, Trucks Venture Capital and angel investor Lior Ron, who heads Uber Freight are some other investors.
However, the other important thing that should be added, is that Gatik, is not the only company that is working with the Walmart. Waymo and Udelv, are other two companies which have partnership with Walmart. . Both of these partnerships involve pilot programs in Arizona. In November 2018, Walmart also discussed a partnership with Ford to pilot grocery delivery with self-driving cars in the Miami area.
The use of autonomous vans to deliver online grocery orders to customers is also being test by Udelv. Members of Waymo’s early rider program after shopping from Walmart.com, last year, also received grocery savings. A Waymo car is taken by the rider to their nearby Walmart store for picking the grocery. Moreover, Walmart is not alone, as Kroger and H-E-B are among other retailers testing similar technology.