Gatik, which makes self-driving delivery vehicles for the middle-mile, announced today that it is collaborating with Isuzu North America on a project to develop and evaluate fully autonomous medium-duty trucks.
The first vehicles the two companies will work on will integrate Gatik’s autonomous driving technology into a number of Isuzu’s N-Series trucks. Together the two companies will produce SAE Level 4 delivery vehicles with redundant systems.
Gatik has had a busy 2021 so far. In February, the company announced its electrification plans and debuted its first Electric Autonomous Box Truck built on Ford Transit 350 HDs. Earlier this month, Gatik announced that it received funding from Ontario’s (Canada) Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network to help winterize its self-driving technology. (Driving in inclement weather requires a more sophisticated approach than driving in bright, sunny weather because of poor visibility, changing road conditions, etc.)
Unlike other self-driving startups, Gatik only works on autonomous vehicles for the middle-mile, which is typically between two destinations run by the same business. For example, Gatik trucks would go back and forth between a company’s distribution warehouse and a retail location. Because middle-mile routes are limited, fixed and repeatable, Gatik’s self-driving systems don’t have to deal with as many variables (new streets, different traffic patterns, etc.) as other, consumer-ended autonomous vehicles. This, in turn, helps its vehicles pass muster with regulators and allows Gatik get to market quickly. For instance, Gatik will make one of the Arkansas routes it drives for Walmart fully driverless this year.
In today’s press announcement, Gatik said that the first trucks from its collaboration with Isuzu North America will be deployed this year.