- Walmart is preparing to test driverless cars for transporting products to cut down on shipping costs
- This program is being developed in partnership with Palo Alto-based Gatik
Retail giant Walmart is starting to test driverless cars for transporting products from its warehouses as a way to cut down on shipping costs and increase efficiency, according to a Bloomberg report. Walmart has partnered with an autonomous vehicle company called Gatik to test out the driverless cars.
Analysts have told Bloomberg that the market for transporting products to warehouses without a middle man could hit $1 trillion.
“This area has the least number of obstacles and the most certain return on invested capital in the near term,” said Gartner senior director Mike Ramsey via Bloomberg. “If you’re looking to start a business where you can actually generate revenue, this has fewer barriers than the taxi market.”
Gatik is a Palo Alto, California-based company that deploys autonomous vehicles for short-haul journeys. Gatik emerged from stealth mode recently. Gatik is headed up co-founders CEO Gautam Narang, CTO Arjun Narang, and Chief Engineer Apeksha Kumavat.
In the report, Gautam Narang pointed out that the middle mile is the “most expensive part” of supply chains.
The driverless vehicles will be tested at the company’s headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas. And Walmart is working with state officials for receiving approval to operate the pilot program this summer.
“Walmart is interested in the future of autonomous vehicles – that includes both customer delivery as well as transporting goods between our locations,” added Molly Blakeman of Walmart’s media relations in an interview with Fox Business. “In March 2019, Arkansas passed legislation allowing for autonomous vehicles to operate in the state under a pilot program.”
Walmart has been making drastic improvements to its delivery services this year. For example, the company announced it was offering free next day delivery to customers last month for eligible products.
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