Walmart has started to use driverless delivery trucks. My mom lived in Fayetteville, Arkansas for a few years. It was quite beautiful…and it was also right next door to Bentonville….home to Walmart Corporate Headquarters. Yesterday Arkansas Online announced that a driverless truck delivery company that Walmart Inc. works with in Bentonville has been operating vehicles without a driver behind the wheel since August. Yikes.
The trucks run on a single delivery route several times daily on public roads between a Neighborhood Market and a Walmart “dark store,” or store that is now being used solely as a fulfillment center, the companies said in a joint news release.
Walmart did not immediately respond to questions including how many trucks it’s using or whether it owns a stake in the company as it does with another driverless vehicle firm.
The Arkansas Highway Commission gave approval for the company, Gatik, and Walmart, in December to use the box trucks without a safety driver after they had successfully operated in the city for 18 months.
The companies said that the commission’s approval makes Gatik the first autonomous trucking company allowed to remove the safety driver from a commercial delivery middle-mile route “anywhere in the world.”
Middle mile refers to the part of the supply chain in which items are transported between warehouses or from warehouses to stores. In comparison, last-mile deliveries are made from stores or fulfillment centers directly to customers’ homes.
Autonomous delivery helps Walmart fill online orders faster, the companies said.