Layoffs are impacting automakers and transportation technology companies across the industry but at least one firm in the space is looking to expand its workforce instead of scale back.
According to Reuters, self-driving truck startup Gatik hopes to double its workforce by the end of the year. The company, which was founded in 2017, would increase its headcount to 250, up from its current 120. The new hires would help support Gatik’s expanding footprint, which could include 15 new states over the next five years.
Gatik helps companies like Walmart and Georgia-Pacific with middle mile logistics and it just announced a new agreement with Kroger. Under the terms of the deal, the company’s medium-duty autonomous box trucks will transport products from a Kroger Customer Fulfillment Center in Dallas, Texas, to multiple retail locations.
Gatik’s traditional trucks are fitted with autonomous driving technology and focused on operating within a fairly structured domain of short, fixed routes. The company said by intentionally limiting the range for its trucks, it’s been able to deploy a safe system with high performance levels despite a limited amount of data and time dedicated to the project.
Since launching commercial operations in 2019, Gatik said it has delivered half a million customer orders. The company’s trucks each feature a cold chain-capable 20’ foot box designed to transport ambient, refrigerated and frozen goods.
Over its relatively brief existence, Gatik has managed to attract the attention and support of some major players in the cloud industry. Microsoft reportedly contributed to a funding round earlier this year under an agreement that will see Gatik use the company’s Azure cloud platform to further develop self-driving technology.