How Big of a Milestone is Walmart’s Use of Autonomous Trucks?

 

Key Points:

  • Walmart has partnered with a Silicon Valley start-up called Gatik to run two autonomous box trucks on a 7-mile loop for 12 hours a day in Bentonville, Arkansas.
  • Retailers investing in this type of technology can increase operational efficiencies and combat the labor shortage.
  • Carl Anthony, Managing Editor of Automoblog & AutoVision News, says that intelligent systems and the automotive business is the way of the future.

Commentary:

Recently, Walmart partnered with a Silicon Valley start-up called Gatik to run two autonomous box trucks on a 7-mile loop for 12 hours a day in Bentonville, Arkansas.

This is a notable development throughout the retail industry for many reasons, but primarily because of the importance that trucking plays to the American economy.  What benefits will this news offer for the public? Carl Anthony, Managing Editor of Automoblog & AutoVision News, joined MarketScale to provide his expert thoughts and opinions on what this means for the industry moving forward.

Abridged Thoughts:

One thing that could be helpful to get consumers to embrace autonomous cars just in a general sense, if they can see it working somewhere else, if they can see it working out on the road. But it’s not necessarily their car, it’s somebody else having success with it. They’re much more likely to adopt it for their own vehicle. So to contrast, we talked about an exponential curve. But in this case, it’s more of a logarithmic curve. It’s more of a gradual curve. So you take a trip with your family and you see an autonomous truck on the road and it’s operating safely. It’s within the lane. It’s doing the speed limit. And then in your neighborhood, suddenly you start to see autonomous shuttles and autonomous delivery vehicles. Maybe you even utilize that service yourself. So instead of this lightning fast exponential curve launch into autonomy, you have more of this gradual progression. So let the autonomous trucks do it first, let the autonomous delivery shuttles do it first, and that may help consumers slowly but surely embrace the technology. We have every reason to believe in the automotive industry that we’ll see more autonomous trucking applications like this and that they will play a key role in consumer adoption of fully autonomous vehicles in the future.

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