Ryder and autonomous trucking startup Gatik are partnering to establish an autonomous delivery network for Gatik’s customers in the United States and Canada, the companies announced Oct. 19.
The new multi-year partnership stems from Gatik’s latest funding round totaling $85 million, which included an investment from Ryder’s corporate venture capital fund RyderVenture. The fund aims to invest in and partner with early-stage companies that are developing new technologies and business models that deliver advancements and automation in the logistics and transportation industries, and this latest funding represents RyderVentures’ first investment in an autonomous trucking company.
Gatik will lease a fleet of medium-duty, multi-temperature box trucks from Ryder that are designed for transporting goods to retail locations from micro-fulfillment centers or dark stores—distribution centers that cater exclusively to e-commerce. Gatik will integrate its self-driving technology into the leased fleet to provide autonomous deliveries.
In addition to providing the leased vehicles, Ryder will service and maintain the trucks, including calibration of autonomous vehicle sensors and the necessary pre- and post-trip inspections. Ryder recently announced similar arrangements with autonomous driving technology company TuSimple and driverless trucking technology company Embark.
In the future, Ryder and Gatik will explore opportunities for Ryder to manage the autonomous fleet’s logistics operations, allowing Gatik to focus on its end-to-end autonomous delivery service business model and manage long-standing relationships with its customer base.
“The combination of maintaining direct relationships with customers while being asset-light has never been achieved in the autonomous trucking industry before,” Gautam Narang, Gatik’s CEO and co-founder, said in a statement. “This partnership enables us to benefit from Ryder’s world-class expertise in commercial vehicle servicing and maintenance, and leverage Ryder’s North American infrastructure to expand our fleet to multiple markets quickly. Ryder has consistently demonstrated commitment to innovation and serving their customers’ needs – core principles that resonated deeply with us.”
The partnership will initially focus on the Dallas-Fort Worth area, with the goal of expanding quickly across the United States and Canada.
“One of our focus areas, not only for RyderVentures but for Ryder as a company, is on autonomous trucking technology. It’s on track to solve a host of industry pain points. Think about ever-escalating consumer demands combined with capacity constraints, driver shortages, and regulatory and safety pressures,” Karen Jones, Ryder’s chief marketing officer and head of new product development, said in a statement. “Gatik’s commitment to safety, focus on efficiency and affordability, and unique approach to structured autonomy make it a leader in autonomous middle-mile delivery—and a great partner for Ryder.”