The autonomous trucks They continue to be the protagonists of the news in the world of technology, and now it is with a logistics giant: Walmart.
The company has announced that it will use fully autonomous trucks to deliver in Arkansas beginning in 2021.
The retailer has partnered with a startup called Gatik for the past 18 months, and over the next year, the two companies plan to remove the safety driver from their trucks to raise the bar for autonomy.
Gatik outfitted several trucks with sensors and software to enable autonomous driving, and for several months they have been taking short routes between a warehouse store and a nearby neighboring market in Bentonville, Arkansas. Since then, the vehicles have accumulated more than 100,000 km in autonomous mode with a safety driver.
In 2021, in addition to eliminating the security driver, they plan to expand to a second location in Louisiana, where trucks with security drivers will begin delivering items from a Walmart to a designated pickup location where customers can retrieve their orders. Those routes will be longer than the Arkansas operation, about 30 km in total.
Gautam Narang, CEO and co-founder of Gatik, commented that The success of their model is to divide the project into micro-models whose intended functionality is restricted to a very specific explainable task, and they build rule-based validation and support systems around it.
Walmart is working with a variety of companies in the industry to streamline the process, including Waymo, Cruise, Nuro, Udelv, Baidu, Ford, and Postmates.