Kroger set to use self-driving trucks for deliveries

Self-driving trucks will soon start making deliveries at some Kroger stores in the Dallas area, the company announced.

Kroger has partnered with Gatik to use its midsize trucks to carry goods between a Kroger fulfillment center and the nation’s largest grocer’s stores, the companies said Wednesday.

The Gatik trucks, with a safety driver initially, will make repeated delivery runs multiple times a day, seven days a week for Kroger. The routes include semi-urban and highway driving at up to 70 miles per hour. The routes average 60 miles per round trip.

Kroger joins Walmart, Loblaw and Georgia-Pacific in using Gatik’s self-driving trucks for short-haul routes.

Gatik said Kroger has signed a multiyear agreement to use its autonomous box trucks to transport ambient, refrigerated and frozen foods and general merchandise.

“Kroger’s commitment to redefining service levels for its customers through innovative technology meant that our collaboration came together very quickly,” said Gautam Narang, co-founder and CEO at Gatik in a statement. “We’re deeply familiar with operating our autonomous fleet within the Dallas ecosystem, and we’re very excited to bring that experience to support Kroger in its mission to reshape the future of goods delivery.”

The deliveries are expected to start in the third quarter of the year.

Kroger opened America’s first automated warehouse in Monroe March 2021.

The $55 million, 335,000-square-foot customer fulfillment center features digital and robotic capabilities that allow Kroger to assemble an order of approximately 50 items in six minutes with robotics in an automated warehouse instead of approximately 30 to 45 minutes with a Kroger employee picking them up from various areas of the store.

Located along Ohio 63at 6266 Hamilton Lebanon Road in Monroe, the new facility — also known as a “shed” — is the first of 20 planned colossal automated warehouse/distribution facilities to be created as part of a partnership between Kroger and U.K.-based Ocado, one of the world’s largest dedicated online grocery retailers.

It employs more than 400 people.

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