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Gatik, a company looking to automate middle-mile logistics, is partnering with Tyson Foods to deploy autonomous refrigerated box trucks along routes in Arkansas. This multi-year collaboration will have the trucks operating 18 hours a day to deliver products to Tyson’s distribution and storage facilities in the Rogers and Springdale, Arkansas areas.
Starting this week, Gatik’s autonomous trucks will operate on predetermined short-haul, repeated routes to move products from plant to storage facilities.
“We’re excited to partner with Tyson Foods to reduce cost and complexity within their regional distribution architecture,” Gatik CEO and co-founder, Gautam Narang, said. “This is a significant moment for Gatik as we introduce Class 7 autonomous box trucks into our fleet. Our partnership with Tyson is poised to drive long-term innovation and supply chain resiliency while delivering tangible, near-term value.”
All of the trucks are equipped with a 26-foot temperature-controlled box purpose-built to transport refrigerated and frozen goods quickly and safely. Gatik uses multiple sensor modalities that are custom-designed for fail-safe, short-haul, B2B operations.
At the start of the deployment, a safety driver will be present in the cab to monitor the autonomous system and take over driving if needed.
Gatik has three phases that it works through for deployments. The first involves millions of miles of simulated training, which is followed by the second phase, which involves private closed course track testing, first with safety drivers and then without. Finally, the Gatik team moves into its public testing phase.
“At Tyson Foods, we are innovating and using automation throughout our business, including in transportation,” Patrick Simmons, vice president of transportation for Tyson Foods, said. “This partnership allows us to strategically place our drivers where they are needed most while still reliably and safely transporting protein from the plant to distribution centers.”
Tyson hopes that the partnership will bring it increased asset utilization within its short-haul logistics network, assist with inventory objectives, and support a transition to a more responsive approach to moving goods.
Earlier this year, Gatik announced a multi-year commercial collaboration with Kroger to transport customer orders within Kroger’s Dallas distribution network. This partnership involves Gatik’s medium-duty autonomous box trucks transporting products from a Kroger Customer Fulfillment Center (CFC) in Dallas, Texas to multiple retail locations.