Daily Management Review

Collaboration Between Isuzu And Self-Driving Startup Gatik To Develop Delivery Trucks


Collaboration Between Isuzu And Self-Driving Startup Gatik To Develop Delivery Trucks
A joint venture for developing autonomous delivery trucks was announced on Tuesday by between Silicon Valley self-driving startup Gatik and the auto company Isuzu North America Corp in another example of a tie up between a tech based logistics firm and an auto company to build self driving vehicles. The companies said that the autonomous delivery trucks will be used by Gatik to serve its retail customers.
The major business engagement of Gatik is to use its autonomous trucks with safety drivers to deliver goods to retail stores from warehouses and the company works closely with Walmart Inc in Arkansas and Louisiana and Loblaw Companies Ltd in Canada. The company has seen a boom in its business during the pandemic when there was a surge in demand for goods at various grocery stores.
"What I can share is our revenue is in the millions. So this is not a free service that we offer," said co-founder and chief executive Gautam Narang. Instead of selling the self driving technology that is currently owns and the one that it will further develop to other auto makers, Gatik's business model will focus on continuing to offer its autonomous delivery services to its retailing customers, he said.
There has been a growing popularity among investors, who are keen to make an investment in a new and emerging technology, of companies dealing with self driving truck – particularly those that are engaged in supplying big rigs that transport goods from warehouse to warehouse and drive along highways. However experts have said that the development of completely driverless driving technology will take years.
Later this year, there are plans of Gatik and Walmart to test out fully driverless delivery in Arkansas, Narang said. "We actually worked with the Arkansas State Highway Commission to get the approval to take the driver out," said Narang. Authorities have granted permission for that test in December last year.
A major fleet operator, whose name was not disclosed yet, owned trucks from Gatik, the company which has raised almost $30 million so far, said. The company has so far been using the Ford Transit chassis for its existing fleet of autonomous delivery trucks.
According to Narang, one of the early investors of the company was Ford Motor Co Executive Chairman Bill Ford's venture capital fund Fontinalis Partners.
Shaun Skinner, who leads Isuzu's commercial truck division in the two countries of the United States and Canada said that the collaboration for the development of self driving trucks between Isuzu and Gatik will be limited to the US and Canada.  Engineering support to Gatik will be provided by Isuzu to aid the former in retrofitting its Series N medium-duty trucks, Skinner added.
Isuzu North America Corporation is a unit of Japan's Isuzu Motors Ltd.