Gatik, the autonomous delivery startup that is focused primarily on short-haul deliveries, has now moved into the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Gatik has entered into a partnership with Georgia Pacific (GP) and KBX, the transportation unit of Koch Industries. (This is the Koch Industries owned by the billionaire Koch family. It is not to be confused with the Koch Industries, part of the Stan Koch and Sons Trucking feud. They’re two different families)
GP, a household paper products leader that produces brands like Dixie Cup and Quilted Northern. GP is using Gatik’s Class 6, 26-foot van truck to make deliveries to club stores around the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Gatik wants to capitalize on the smaller, more agile Class 6 truck to make on-demand, just-in-time (JIT) deliveries. “Why wait to fill a full 53-foot dry van when you can simply order, have the product sent to the store immediately, and not wait the typical 24-hour turnaround?” is the question Gatik CEO Gautam Narang asks.
Gautam Narang, Gatik CEO and Co-Founder giving a Industry Keynote at 2022 Future of Supply Chain
“It makes sense to use Class 6 because for each of our customers the emphasis is on just-in-time deliveries, high frequency deliveries, and not having to wait for the truck to be fully loaded.”Gatik co-founder and CEO Gautam Narang speaking to TechCrunch.com
Last year, Gatik opened an autonomous truck facility in Texas, using $85 million in capital from Koch Disruptive Technologies. They are the venture capital firm operated by Koch Industries. Other existing investment firms partnering with Gatik are: Innovation Endeavours, Wittington Ventures, FM Capital, Dynamo Ventures, Trucks VC, AngelPad and Intact Ventures.
A little history on Gatik AI
Gatik came out swinging in 2019 with a partnership with Walmart, making rounds with a pilot program making fully autonomous deliveries. It operated from Walmart’s Bentonville Distribution Center to the company’s local Neighborhood Market stores. Gatik then started a shuttle program in Louisiana and has a pilot program with Loblaw Companies Limited in Ontario, Canada. Last month, Gatik launched operations in Kansas with the passage of Senate Bill 313. That law allows autonomous trucks to operate in the state.
Gatik wants to prove that smaller Class 6 trucks can outperform their Class 8 rivals by doing smaller, more efficient JIT deliveries. It’s going to be interesting to watch how Gatik performs in the largest urban area in the Southwest. I ran LTL loads for Averitt Express during my time as a Business Capacity Operator for Landstar. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is not some small town like Bentonville. This is a big step up in how the system can handle the much of a traffic flow.
Brian Straight, Managing Editor of FreightWaves’ Modern Shipper, is also following Gatik closely and has written articles I have linked throughout the article above.