Autonomous short-haul logistics provider Gatik will begin moving grocery orders from Kroger’s customer fulfillment center in Dallas to area stores to meet the increasing demand for pickup of online orders.

Mountain View, California-based Gatik will use medium-duty box trucks for the deliveries as it moves to replace harder-to-maneuver Class 8 day cabs with 53-foot trailers with straight trucks. Gatik trucks feature a cold chain-capable 20-foot box designed to transport ambient, refrigerated and frozen goods quickly, safely and efficiently. 

When the autonomous runs for Kroger begin in the second quarter, they will have safety drivers to monitor truck performance. Eventually, the drivers will be pulled as the repeatable routes become more familiar. The multiyear collaboration involves a minimum of four runs per day, seven days per week across Kroger’s Dallas distribution network.

Gatik customer list includes 10 Fortune 500 customers

Each hub-and-spoke route is an average of 60 miles per round trip, such as from a distribution center to a store and back to the distribution center. 

“Kroger’s commitment to redefining service levels for its customers through innovative technology meant that our collaboration came together very quickly,” said Gautam Narang, Gatik co-founder and CEO. “We’re deeply familiar with operating our autonomous fleet within the Dallas ecosystem.”

Gatik will make a minimum of four autonomous runs per day from Kroger’s Dallas distribution center to stores in the area to bolster Kroger’s efforts in consumer online ordering and pickup of groceries. (Photo: Gatik)

Gatik operates more than 45 trucks, including 25 in Texas for customers including Pitney Bowes and Georgia-Pacific.

“These autonomous box trucks will help us continue our commitment to creating a seamless shopping experience — where customers can access their favorite fresh foods, with zero compromise on value or convenience,” Raúl Bujalil, Kroger vice president of supply chain strategy and technology enablers, said in a news release. 

Gatik’s light- and medium-duty trucks focus on short-haul, business-to-business logistics for 10 Fortune 500 customers including Walmart and Loblaw. It began commercial operations in 2019 and “driver out” operations in 2021. Gatik’s autonomous transportation as a service (ATaaS) has delivered more than 500,000 orders in Arkansas and Ontario.

Editor’s note: Hear more from Gatik co-founder and CEO Gautam Narang on Truck Tech at 4 p.m. EDT Wednesday on FreightWaves TV —

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Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.

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