Kroger Invests in Self-Driving Box Trucks for Texas Distribution Network
Kroger has invested in self-driving medium-duty box trucks to transport orders within its distribution network. The retailer collaborated with the logistics company Gatik on a multi-year commercial contract to transport customer orders within Kroger’s Dallas distribution network. Gatik’s self-driving trucks will transport fresh products from a Kroger Customer Fulfillment Center (CFC) in Dallas, Texas, to the company’s retail locations. Gatik’s autonomous trucks each feature a cold chain-capable 20-foot box designed to transport ambient, refrigerated and frozen goods. Autonomous delivery has several advantages, according to Gatik: greater speed and responsiveness when fulfilling e-commerce orders, reduced costs and dedicated capacity across the middle mile of the supply chain. The trucks operate every day of the week and can make several runs per day. “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, Gatik. “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.” Kroger has invested heavily in automation in its warehouses with robotic order fulfillment as well as direct-to-customer deliveries using the autonomous vehicles from tech firm Nuro. The company is also investing in its employees. Early last month, Kroger announced a more than $770 million incremental investment in its associates during 2023. The company will use this investment to raise average hourly rates, improve healthcare options, build new training and development opportunities, and more.