Logistics and transportation provider Ryder System Inc. today said it had invested in an autonomous trucking company called Gatik, and would lend its expertise in fleet servicing and maintenance to help commercialize autonomous delivery for Gatik’s North American customers.
The move marks Ryder’s fourth partnership with autonomous trucking developers, following arrangements with TuSimple, Waymo Via, and Embark. All four partnerships will pair the startups’ technology with Ryder’s location footprint, logistical expertise, maintenance operations, and visibility tools, the company said.
However, the Gatik deal is different from the rest because it is the first time that Miami-based Ryder has invested its own cash in the plan. Ryder’s year-old corporate venture capital fund, RyderVentures, contributed an unspecified amount toward Gatik’s $85 million fundraising round unveiled today.
Details of the investment round and the names of the other backers were not available, but Ryder said the intent of funding was to address supply chain industry trends such as capacity constraints, driver shortages, and increasing customer demand.
According to Ryder, Mountain View, California-based Gatik stands to offer solutions to those challenges through its approach of automating on-road transportation for short-haul, middle-mile logistics.
Gatik will lease from Ryder a fleet of medium-duty, multi-temperature box trucks designed for transporting goods to retail locations from e-commerce DCs like micro-fulfillment centers or dark stores. Gatik will then integrate its commercial-grade autonomous driving technology into the leased fleet, enabling Gatik to provide its Autonomous Delivery as a Service (ADaaS) model to its new and existing customers. In return, Ryder will service and maintain those trucks, including calibration of autonomous vehicle sensors and the necessary pre- and post-trip inspections.
The partners will launch their service in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, with a goal of expanding quickly across the U.S. 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, chief marketing officer and head of new product development for Ryder, said in a release. “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.”
Today, we announced that we'll be working together with @Gatik_AI to commercialize #autonomous delivery at scale for Gatik’s customers across North America. https://t.co/OjIpL8nzrz#autonomousvehicles #supplychainsolutions #logisitics #innovation #Ryder pic.twitter.com/tTO0RHoKxH— Ryder (@RyderSystemInc) October 19, 2021
Earlier today we announced that we'll be working with @RyderSystemInc to commercialize autonomous delivery at scale for Gatik’s customers across North America - quickly, safely and efficiently. #logistics #middlemile #supplychainsolutions #B2B pic.twitter.com/zWti0Zmjxt— Gatik (@Gatik_AI) October 19, 2021