On Tuesday, Isuzu North America Corp and silicon Valley self-driving startup Gatik said, they will collaborate to build autonomous delivery trucks which will be used by Gatik to serve its retailer customers.
Gatik works with Walmart Inc in Louisiana and Arkansas and with Loblaw Companies Ltd in Canada to deliver goods to stores from warehouses using autonomous trucks with safety drivers. It has seen a boom in its business with the coronavirus-induced COVID-19 pandemic boosting sales at grocery stores.
“What I can share is our revenue is in the millions. So this is not a free service that we offer,” said co-founder and CEO Gautam Narang while adding, Gatik’s business model for now is to be a delivery service provider for retailers using self-driving technology.
Gatik and Walmart plan on testing fully driverless delivery in Arkansas later this year. “We actually worked with the Arkansas State Highway Commission to get the approval to take the driver out,” said Narang. Approval for the same came in December.
Gatik, which has so far raised around $30 million, is using the Ford Transit chassis for its existing fleet of autonomous delivery trucks, which incidentally are owned by a major fleet operator which it has yet to disclose.
According to Narang, venture capital fund Fontinalis Partners is an early investor,
Fontinalis Partners is a venture capital fund owned by Ford Motor Co Executive Chairman Bill Ford.
The collaboration between Gatik and Isuzu is limited to the United States and Canada, with Isuzu providing engineering support for retrofitting its Series N medium-duty trucks, said Shaun Skinner, who leads Isuzu’s commercial truck division in these two countries.
Isuzu North America Corporation is a unit of Japan’s Isuzu Motors Ltd.