Independent delivery firm Gatik wins a new pilot schedule with Pitney Bowes

Gatik wins a Pitney Bowes pilot programme

September 01, 2022: -Logistics firm Pitney Bowes will start testing independent short-haul delivery trucks from startup Gatik in a new captain program at Dallas-area distribution centers, the companies said on Wednesday.

Pitney Bowes, providing logistic services for retailers including eBay and American Eagle, will integrate Gatik’s self-driving box trucks starting in 2023. The trucks will improve five existing Dallas-Fort Worth routes and run packages amid distribution centers, so-called “middle-mile” delivery.

The partnership provides the global logistics company access to some of the market’s first commercial autonomous delivery trucks. It adds to Gatik’s growing impression in the U.S. short-haul delivery market.

Gatik, founded in Silicon Valley in 2017, aims to automate shorter, business-to-business hauls with fixed, repeatable routes. It is establishing a partnership with Walmart in 2021, which becomes the first commercial delivery company to go fully driverless.

While a few autonomous driving systems, such as Tesla’s, have faced heightened scrutiny, Gatik says it’s navigated the challenging environment by limiting its focus on middle-mile routes.

“By constraining the autonomy problem, we can get to the point where the driver comes out faster than anyone else in the industry,” Gatik’s CEO, Gautam Narang, said in an interview. “We chose the safest and easiest possible routes,” he added.

Gatik’s routes are not crossing state lines, and they are optimized with the help of regulators to avoid schools, hospitals, and unprotected left turns. The trucks used are less than many of the trucks of its competitors.

The Pitney Bowes routes will have a safety driver to begin, but the company is anticipating having the trucks completely driverless within a few months.

At scale, Gatik estimates it could provide up to 30% cost savings for Pitney Bowes.

Pitney Bowes is starting a national rollout of automation technology in its warehouses, and pending the pilot program’s success, a broader rollout of Gatik’s automated delivery routes could be ahead.

The startup introduced $85 billion in its Series B funding last year. It said it could reach profitability at a site-specific level as long as two fully driverless trucks operate each course.

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