As per reports, Walmart Stores, Inc. (WMT) has started using fully driverless trucking to boost its online grocery business, increasing capacity and minimizing inefficiencies. In August, Walmart along with Silicon Valley start-up Gatik operated two autonomous box trucks without a safety driver on a 7-mile loop daily for 12 hours. The trucks are loaded with online grocery orders from a Walmart fulfillment center called a “dark store”, and are then taken to a nearby Walmart Neighborhood Market grocery store in Bentonville, Arkansas Walmart’s Headquarters.
“We’re thrilled to be working with Gatik to achieve this industry-first, driverless milestone. Through our work with Gatik, we’ve identified that autonomous box trucks offer an efficient, safe and sustainable solution for transporting goods on repeatable routes between our stores,” stated Walmart senior vice president Tom Ward.
“Taking the driver out is the holy grail of this technology. Having the trust from the world’s largest retailer has been a massive boost for what we do and is a validation for our technology, our solution, our progress,” stated Gatik CEO Gautam Narang, who founded the company in 2017.
The retailer expressed how the use of automated vehicles will allow store associates more freedom to perform “higher level” tasks, including customer assistance and picking and packing online orders. Gatik explained how autonomous vehicles can also reduce logistics costs by as much as 30% for a grocery business, which usually has low margins ranging from 2% to 4%, as per the research from Bain and Company. Walmart and Gatik are running similar tests in the New Orleans area with an electric box truck with a safety driver to transport online grocery orders from a Walmart Supercenter to a customer pickup location.
Walmart Stores, Inc. (WMT) is a worldwide retailer that operates in various formats. The three segments of the company include Walmart U.S., Walmart International, and Sam’s Club. The company is comprised of discount stores, supermarkets, supercenters, hypermarkets, warehouse clubs, cash and carry stores, home improvement stores, specialty electronics stores, apparel stores, drug stores, convenience stores, and membership-only warehouse clubs; and retail Websites. To learn more about Walmart (WMT) and to continue to track its progress please visit the Vista Partners Walmart Coverage Page.
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