Self-Driving Truck Startup Gatik Will Deliver Goods Autonomously to 34 DFW Sam’s Clubs

Until now, most autonomous delivery pilots have involved 18-wheelers driving on highways between cities. Gatik's new commercial partnership with Georgia-Pacific and KBX involves smaller loads: It's "the first time that Class 6 autonomous box trucks have been deployed" to disrupt the Class 8 semi-truck short-haul network, the startup said.

Gatik, a leader in autonomous “middle mile” logistics with a strong DFW presence, just made that presence stronger. Today it announced it’s partnering with Georgia-Pacific and KBX, the transportation arm for Koch Industries, to deliver goods autonomously to 34 Dallas-Fort Worth Sam’s Club locations.

The deliveries to Sam’s Clubs will begin in July and operate “up to 12 hours a day, 7 days a week,” with a “safety driver” initially in the truck during the operations, Gatik says.

Gatik is based in Mountain View, California, and operates a hub out of the AllianceTexas Mobility Innovation Zone (the MIZ) in Fort Worth. Last August, we reported Gatik’s raise of $85 million in a Series B funding round led by Koch Disruptive Technologies. At the time, the company said the funding would help it scale its fleet of Class 3-6 autonomous box trucks across new North American markets.

Autonomously delivering paper products to DFW Sam’s Clubs

Unlike the huge, 18-wheeler “Class 8” trucks you often see at big box stores, Gatik will operate smaller Class 6 autonomous box trucks under the partnership announced today. 

Gatik will be moving Georgia-Pacific shipments—including bath tissue and paper cups—from point to point on predefined short-haul routes in Dallas-Fort Worth. Gatik says this is “the first time that class 6 autonomous box trucks have been deployed to disrupt short-haul logistics networks traditionally involving class 8 trucks.”

“Our partnership with Georgia-Pacific and KBX is poised to transform regional distribution architecture that has traditionally relied on class 8 platforms,” said Gautam Narang, Gatik’s CEO and co-founder, in a statement. “By integrating our class 6 autonomous solution into KBX’s sophisticated infrastructure across Dallas-Fort Worth, Gatik will be able to deliver Georgia-Pacific products to a vast network of Sam’s Club locations with unparalleled reliability, speed, and consistency.”

Gatik says that by replacing traditional tractor trailers with autonomous box trucks, it can establish a “more responsive and flexible logistics network, increasing the cadence of delivery runs and the flow of goods, while reducing logistics costs and enabling near real-time inventory fulfillment.”

Removing ‘cost and complexity from the supply chain’

“We’re looking forward to testing this transformational technology to deliver Georgia-Pacific brands like Quilted Northern bath tissue and Dixie products to Sam’s Clubs,” said Hayes Shimp, VP of sales for Georgia-Pacific, in the statement. “Once proven, we believe autonomous deliveries will enable us to remove cost and complexity from the supply chain so that we can better serve Sam’s Club, and their members.”

KBX President Paul Snider believes operations like this one will “redefine” how middle mile deliveries are handled in metros like Dallas-Fort Worth.

“Our partnership with Gatik will enable us to redefine the traditional class 8 short-haul market and deliver Georgia-Pacific goods with even greater speed and efficiency,” Snider said. “We’re excited to see these operations form the foundation of KBX’s Autonomous Vehicle Program, as we prepare for wider-scale adoption of autonomous trucks to meet customer demand.”

Creating over 500 new jobs in Texas by 2025

Gatik opened its autonomous trucking hub in Fort Worth last year, establishing a “long-term presence in the state.” The company says it anticipates creating over 500 new jobs in Texas by 2025, including operational, technical, and business roles. 

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