This fireside chat recap is from Day 2 of FreightWaves’ LIVE @HOME.

FIRESIDE CHAT TOPIC: Autonomous trucks in the middle mile

DETAILS: The middle mile, as it’s known across the United States, with its repetitive and active lanes, is primed for autonomy. FreightTech firm Gatik is poised to be one of the first to fully test driverless middle-mile routes this year in Arkansas for Walmart. Gatik also recently announced it will be the first to operate electric autonomous middle-mile routes for Walmart in Louisiana.

SPEAKERS: Sam Saad, Gatik’s head of strategic initiatives, and Andrew Cox, FreightWaves’ senior retail and market research analyst.

BIO: Saad heads up strategic initiatives for Gatik, a company offering autonomous vehicles for B2B short-haul logistics.


“We’ve done some groundbreaking work with Walmart to date, and we plan on continuing to do so. In summer of 2019, we introduced two driverless box trucks; those have 11-foot boxes on them, reefer liftgate. It’s a very unique form factor in the autonomous sector, and one that is incredibly conducive to supporting middle-mile operations and micro fulfillment center to retail location.”

“I’ve been at this game for a while. And I’ve never seen such rapid change as what’s happening right now. It’s not only technologically fueled, it’s interrelated. It’s also consumer behavior and consumer expectations.”

“Interestingly, the buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) model is starting to become preferable to a lot of consumers, because the last-mile delivery to your door, although it superficially seems more convenient, that means you have to be at home, home for a certain window of time, doesn’t give you the flexibility to pick up the goods, retrieve the goods at your schedule, whereas the BOPIS model does.”

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