Walmart announced Tuesday (Dec. 15) that Gatik, the autonomous delivery network, will operate a driverless box truck on one route in Arkansas, a press release says.
The route will run between a dark store (one that has items for fulfillment and not open to the public) and a Neighborhood Market in Bentonville, Arkansas, an expansion of the autonomous vehicle pilot launched last year.
The release says that the truck has \”safely driven more than 70,000 operational miles\” with a safety driver present.
Now, the release says, the multi-temperature, autonomous box truck will be operating driverless, which is the first such operation for both Gatik and Walmart.
Walmart said that it will be working with Gatik to \”monitor and gather new data to help us stay on the leading edge of driverless autonomous vehicles,\” and the original pilot will still continue as well.
Walmart says it also learned from its Bentonville experiments testing the driverless trucks and will now be using the process of transporting items from a dark store to a live one. The pilot will now be extended to a larger delivery route.
There will also be a second project in which items are delivered from a Supercenter to a Walmart pickup point, which means a designated location where customers can pick up orders, the release says. That project will take place in Louisiana on a 20-mile route between New Orleans and Metairie.
\”With 90 percent of Americans living within 10 miles of a Walmart, a closer store isn’t always the answer,\” the release says. \”Perhaps it’s just a pickup location, with an autonomous vehicle making deliveries on a constant loop.\”
The pilot program began last year after Arkansas passed a law allowing for autonomous vehicles, and worked with modified Ford Transit Connect vehicles for 10 runs a day during daylight, seven days a week.
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