Kroger To Use Self-Driving Delivery Trucks

Kroger supermarket | Image by Eric Glenn/Shutterstock

Kroger, one of the biggest grocery retailers in the United States, has partnered with Gatik, a California-based autonomous logistics company, to streamline its online grocery orders.

Gatik announced the multi-year deal in a news release last week, saying that its self-driving climate-controlled trucks will transport goods from a Kroger Customer Fulfillment Center (CFC) in southern Dallas to multiple retail locations. This will benefit customers by allowing for more same-day pick-up slots and more frequent delivery runs. It will also push back the cutoff times for online grocery orders.

Set to begin in the second quarter of this year, Gatik’s operation will run seven days per week across Kroger’s distribution network.

The CFC handles online orders of customers in the Dallas-Fort Worth region as well as in Oklahoma City, Austin, and San Antonio, per The Dallas Morning News. Although the latter cities don’t have any Kroger stores, they have hub facilities for grocery deliveries.

Kroger’s hub-and-spoke system of delivery from the CFC averages 60 miles per round trip.

Costing $55 million to build, the CFC spans 350,000 square feet and is fully automated. It has 1,000 robots that can fulfill 18,000 orders in a day, per the DMN.

The partnership with Gatik’s small self-driving trucks will further increase the speed of fulfilling online orders and reduce costs. Customers will see up to 30% in savings, Richard Steiner, Gatik’s head of policy and communications, asserted to the DMN.

Steiner added that none of Gatik’s trucks have been in an accident so far. The company complies with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s 2017 law requiring the issuance of monthly reports to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Gatik’s self-driving trucks currently operate with a safety driver onboard, although it plans to transition to fully autonomous operations by 2024.

Gatik expanded into the Dallas-Fort Worth area through an $85 million investment led by Koch Disruptive Technologies, an affiliate of KBX Logistics, in 2021. It now works with eight Fortune 500 companies, including Kroger, Walmart, Loblaw, and Georgia-Pacific.

Alongside the business prospects, the new partnership with Kroger will give Gatik a chance to gain more experience and collect more data on its trucks in urban and semi-urban driving environments, the DMN reported.

Raúl Bujalil, Gatik’s vice president of supply chain strategy and technology enablers, said per the company’s news release, “We are so excited to see Gatik trucks starting to deliver groceries throughout our Dallas division.”

“These autonomous box trucks will help us continue our commitment to creating a seamless shopping experience – where customers can access their favorite fresh foods, with zero compromise on value or convenience,” Bujalil continued.

Support our non-profit journalism

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *