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Walmart tests driverless trucks to deliver groceries bought online

Walmart is testing the Gatik vehicles as part of a model for several store locations where smaller fulfillment centers are closer to buyers. Photo courtesy Gatik
Walmart is testing the Gatik vehicles as part of a model for several store locations where smaller fulfillment centers are closer to buyers. Photo courtesy Gatik

Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Walmart announced on Monday that it's been making grocery deliveries with driverless trucks for months and the technology has proven to be safe and cost-effective.

The company said it's been testing two trucks in Bentonville, Ark., without a human safety monitor since August.

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The collaboration between Walmart and autonomous car company Gatik began about two years ago.

A year ago, the Arkansas State Highway Commission granted approval for the companies to remove the human safety monitor.

"This milestone signifies a revolutionary breakthrough for the autonomous trucking industry," Gatik CEO Gautum Narang said in a statement.

"These are frequent, revenue-generating, daily runs that our trucks are completing safely in a range of conditions on public roads."

The retailer is testing the vehicles as part of a model for several store locations where smaller fulfillment centers are closer to buyers.

Gatik says on its website that it operates autonomous vehicles seven days a week for 12 hours a day on routes with fixed pick-up and drop-off locations. It says self-driving vehicles can reduce logistics costs by up to 30% for a grocery business.

Other grocery chains are also testing autonomous deliveries, including Kroger and Albertson's.

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