Gatik raises $85M for autonomous box trucks

The Robot Report
Gatik Series B

Gatik’s electric, Level 4 autonomous box trucks. | Photo Credit: Gatik

Gatik, a 2020 RBR50 Robotics Innovation Award winner, raised $85 million in Series B funding. The oversubscribed round brings Gatik’s total funding to $114.5 million since it was founded in 2017.

The Series B round was led by new investor Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT). Existing investors Innovation Endeavours, Wittington Ventures, FM Capital, Dynamo Ventures, Trucks VC, Intact Ventures and others also participated.

Gatik said the funding will be used to advance its autonomous driving technology, scale its fleet of Class 3-6 multi-temperature autonomous box trucks, grow with existing and new customers, and increase its team size.

Gatik, which emerged from stealth mode in 2019, has been shuttling goods as part of pilot programs for Walmart in Arkansas and Louisiana and in Ontario, Canada for Loblaw Companies Limited. It uses the autonomous box trucks to shuttle groceries and goods from distribution centers to local retail locations.

“With our exclusive focus on structured autonomy, we have unlocked lower costs, shorter delivery times, and sustainable, reliable capacity for our customers today,” said Gautam Narang, CEO and co-founder, Gatik. “Our long-term partnerships with the world’s largest retailers, strategic relationships with OEMs and fleet servicing & maintenance partners have allowed us to address critical supply chain challenges and build an industry-defining business. With this financing, we are ideally positioned to commercialize our solution at scale.”

Narang was a recent guest on The Robot Report Podcast. We discussed the development of Gatik’s Level 4 autonomous vehicles, how Gatik landed a partnership with Walmart while in stealth mode, the changing investment landscape around autonomous vehicles and why level 5 autonomy is at least 10-15 years away. You can listen to the interview below, starting at the 24-minute mark.

Gatik raised $25 million in Series A funding for the Level 4 autonomous box trucks in November 2020. Gatik restricts its vehicles to fixed, repeatable routes to eliminate as much uncertainty from their routes as possible. The vehicles are often restricted to the right-most lane too, similar to UPS’ approach. Staying in the right lane helps Gatik avoid changing multiple lanes and unprotected left turns, the latter of which is one of the harder maneuvers for autonomous vehicles. Gatik also avoids routes that drive by fire stations, hospitals and schools due to unpredictability.

“The logistics industry is experiencing unprecedented disruption driven by the explosive growth of e-commerce, and demand for more efficient goods movement,” said Chase Koch, president of KDT. “Nowhere is this more pronounced than on the Middle Mile. Gatik’s transformational autonomous technology and world-class team are defining the standard in B2B short-haul logistics by addressing the most prominent issues facing today’s supply chain. We believe Gatik will be the first to commercialize autonomous technology at scale for the North American medium-duty trucking market.”

Expanding to Texas

Gatik also announced today its expansion into Texas with “multiple new customers.” It opened an autonomous trucking facility in Fort Worth that’ll serve as a hub for operations in Texas. Gatik said its medium-duty trucks operate 20-plus hours per day, seven days a week in Texas. This is the fourth market for Gatik’s autonomous vehicles, following the success of its operations in Arkansas, Louisiana and Ontario, Canada.

“Dallas-Fort Worth is internationally recognized as one of the world’s leading logistics centers in terms of innovation, sophisticated infrastructure and a highly-skilled workforce,” said Narang. “Combined with a dense customer base, a progressive and well-structured regulatory environment, and an ideal climate; bringing the advantages of our middle-mile solution to customers in the Texas ecosystem was a very natural next step for us.”

“Gatik’s expansion into Texas comes at a time when demand for autonomous Middle Mile delivery has surpassed even the most confident predictions,” added Narang. “Rising costs, unreliable service levels and an increasingly pronounced driver shortage within traditional logistics networks have spurred overwhelming demand for Gatik’s autonomous technology.”

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Source: therobotreport

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