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Walmart has announced it’s taking its driverless delivery pilot with Gatik up a level. In 2021, Gatik will be removing the safety driver from its vehicles delivering Walmart customer orders to a neighbourhood market in Bentonville, Arkansas.

The U.S. retailer is also expanding its pilot to a second location to test an even longer delivery route and a second use case – delivering items from a Supercenter to a Walmart pickup point, a designated location where customers can conveniently pick up their orders.

The Autonomous Box Trucks in Louisiana will initially operate with a safety driver.

The operation will begin early next year on a 20-mile route between New Orleans and Metairie, Louisiana.

Gautam Narang, CEO and Co-founder of Gatik; says: “This achievement marks an historic technological and regulatory milestone for the industry, signifying the first ever driverless operation carried out for the supply chain’s middle mile — with the safety of all road users firmly entrenched at the heart of our operations.”

Tom Ward, SVP of Customer Product, Walmart U.S, adds: “With 90% of Americans living within 10 miles of a Walmart, a closer store isn’t always the answer. Perhaps it’s just a pickup location, with an autonomous vehicle making deliveries on a constant loop. Our trials with Gatik are just two of many use cases we’re testing with autonomous vehicles, and we’re excited to continue learning how we might incorporate them in a delivery ecosystem.”

Gatik was founded in 2017 by veterans of the autonomous technology industry and has established offices in Palo Alto and Toronto.

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