November 27, 2020
Loblaw Companies Limited (“Loblaws”) has signed a deal with Gatik, an autonomous vehicle start-up, to launch what it claims to be Canada’s first autonomous delivery fleet.
The announcement comes after a number of other recent decisions by Loblaws to automate its supply chain, including a ten-month pilot with one of Gatik’s automated delivery vehicles and an automated picking facility in Toronto. This reflects the general trends spurred on by the COVID-19 pandemic, as consumers are increasingly turning to e-commerce and social distancing has encouraged companies to use robots and other machinery for deliveries.
Gatik’s fleet in Toronto will consist of five autonomous box trucks, all of which have a safety driver as a co-pilot. They will hit the road in January 2021 and will be used seven days a week on five routes along public roads.
Gatik was launched in Palo Alto in 2007 and focuses on business-to-business or “B2B” short-haul deliveries. This involves deliveries between warehouses or distribution centres and retail facilities or stores. 2021 has been a notable year for the start-up – in addition to the Loblaws deal, it also received $25 million USD in Series A funding. The round was co-led by Wittington Ventures, which is backed by Loblaws and the Weston family. The company intends to use its funding to expand operations across North America and hire more employees in its Palo Alto, California and Toronto facilities.
Author: Brennan Caldwell