Gatik, an autonomous middle-mile logistics firm, is teaming up with Tyson Foods to introduce autonomous refrigerated box trucks in Arkansas. The partnership, which spans several years, will focus on delivering goods to Tyson’s distribution and storage hubs in Rogers and Springdale. The autonomous trucks are slated to operate for 18 hours daily.
Starting this week, these trucks will be functioning on pre-defined short-haul routes, transporting products from Tyson's production facilities to storage locations.
Gautam Narang, Gatik's CEO and co-founder, commented,
“Our collaboration with Tyson aims to streamline their regional distribution processes. By integrating Class 7 autonomous box trucks into our fleet, we hope to foster supply chain innovation and resilience."
These trucks are specially fitted with a 26-foot temperature-regulated container designed for the swift and secure transit of refrigerated and frozen commodities. Gatik’s vehicles utilize a variety of custom sensors geared for safe, short-haul, B2B tasks. Notably, as an initial safety measure, each truck will have a safety driver on board to oversee the autonomous system and intervene if necessary.
Gatik has delineated a three-stage deployment procedure. It commences with extensive simulated training, followed by private track tests, initially with and then without safety drivers. Subsequently, the initiative transitions to public testing.
Patrick Simmons, Tyson Foods' vice president of transportation, remarked, “Incorporating automation, including in transport, is part of our broader innovation strategy. This initiative enables us to allocate our drivers more strategically, ensuring the consistent and safe transport of our products from production sites to distribution centers.”
Tyson Foods anticipates that this collaboration will enhance its short-haul logistics network's asset utilization, assist in achieving inventory targets, and support a more agile method of goods transportation.
It's worth noting that earlier this year, Gatik revealed a commercial partnership with Kroger. This venture involves Gatik's medium-duty autonomous trucks ferrying items from a Kroger Customer Fulfillment Center in Dallas to various retail outlets.