Loblaw and Gatik achieve full autonomy in Greater Toronto

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by Emily Atkins

Gatik is going fully driverless on middle mile deliveries for Loblaw Companies Limited. Gatik is now moving select online grocery orders, for Loblaw’s PC Express service, with a fleet of multi-temperature autonomous box trucks.

Gatik is operating a fleet of autonomous box trucks for Loblaw in the Greater Toronto Area.

Since January 2020, Loblaw and Gatik have transported more than 150,000 autonomous deliveries (with a safety driver on board), with a 100 percent safety record. This new fully driverless deployment is the first time that an autonomous trucking company has removed the safety driver from a daily delivery route in Canada.

“This milestone marks the expansion of Gatik’s autonomous delivery service to Loblaw’s customers across multiple sites,” said Gautam Narang, CEO and co-founder, Gatik.

“Canada is the latest market in which we’ve launched our fully driverless service, further validating that the tangible benefits of autonomous delivery are being realized first in B2B short-haul logistics. It’s a privilege to achieve this commercial and technical landmark with Canada’s largest retailer.”

Autonomous delivery enables Loblaw to operate more routes and make more frequent trips, establishing a supply chain that is safer, more sustainable and more resilient.

Following an extensive, third-party safety review commissioned by Loblaw, Gatik’s autonomous technology and approach for safe and secure operations was endorsed on these routes.

Three-month review

The review took place over a three-month period that included assessment of end-to-end technology solution, development and deployment processes, standards and regulatory compliance, risk assessment and evaluation of control measures as well as physical component, subsystem and vehicle level testing.

The assessment included sending degraded/incorrect sensor data, GPS jamming/spoofing, incorrect acceleration with objects in front, etc. This paved the way for Gatik’s fleet to transport ambient, refrigerated, and frozen goods seven days a week from a Loblaw distribution facility to five nearby retail locations in the Greater Toronto Area on fixed, repetitive, predictable routes.

“Working with Gatik, we’ve demonstrated that autonomous driving technology enables supply chain efficiency, moving more orders more frequently for our customers,” said David Markwell, chief technology and analytics officer, Loblaw Companies Limited.

“Being the first in Canada with this technology and deploying a fully driverless solution is exciting and illustrates our commitment to making grocery shopping better for customers.”

Safety record

Gatik has achieved a 100 percent safety record across each of its deployment sites in Canada and the USA. Gatik focuses exclusively on facilitating frequent, point-to-point deliveries across the middle mile to maximize safety, using proprietary, commercial-grade autonomous technology that is purpose built for B2B short-haul logistics.

By constraining the operating environment in this way, Gatik has been able to safely achieve fully driverless operations in multiple markets. In 2021, Gatik became the first autonomous trucking company worldwide to remove the safety driver from a commercial delivery route on the middle mile, transporting goods for Walmart in Arkansas, USA.

Gatik focuses on short-haul, B2B logistics for retailers such as Loblaw, Walmart, KBX and Georgia-Pacific, and in 2021 became the first company worldwide to operate fully driverless commercial deliveries on the middle mile.

Gatik’s Class 3-6 autonomous box trucks are commercially deployed in multiple markets including Ontario, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. Gatik partners with industry leaders including Ryder, Goodyear, Isuzu and Cummins. Founded in 2017 by veterans of the autonomous technology industry, the company has offices in Toronto, Ontario and Mountain View, California.