Canada’s largest grocer is rolling out fully autonomous delivery vehicles—without a human “safety driver”—on roads in Toronto and surrounding suburbs.
Loblaw Companies Ltd. and its partner in in the initiative, AI tech company Gatik, announced on Oct. 5 that this is the first time in Canada that there will be delivery vehicles without a safety driver on board.
“Autonomous delivery enables Loblaw to operate more routes and make more frequent trips, establishing a supply chain that is safer, more sustainable and more resilient,” the company said in a press release.
Since January 2020, Loblaw and Gatik have been doing autonomous deliveries with a human safety driver on board.
In 2021, Gatik became the first AI trucking company in the world to operate without a safety driver in Arkansas, doing deliveries for Walmart.
The vehicles use cameras, radar, lidar, and GPS to navigate the roads.
“They are constantly assessing their surroundings and translating the information into speed, distance needed to brake or turn, re-routing if there’s an unforeseen traffic challenge, and so much more,” Loblaws said in Nov. 2020 press release about its use of autonomous vehicles commercially in Canada.
Loblaw said that after a third-party review over three months, it started using Gatik’s AI to transport goods from its distribution facility to five retail locations in the Greater Toronto Area.
Founded in 2017, Gatik’s focus is on short-haul and business-to-business transportation. The company has offices in Palo Alto, California, and Toronto.