Gatik announced that it will be expanding its middle-mile autonomous operations to Kansas following the signing of Senate Bill 313 into law by Gov. Laura Kelly. The law enables the deployment of fully autonomous trucks on public roads in the state, paving the way for enhanced road safety, increased product flow, lower costs, and higher asset utilization in the supply chain, according to the announcement.
Gatik worked closely with Walmart and key stakeholders, including the Kansas Department of Transportation, the governor’s office, leadership in the House and Senate, and the Kansas Sheriffs’ Association, to develop and propose legislation that prioritizes the safe and structured introduction of autonomous vehicles in the state, noted the May 19 announcement. Gatik said it plans to work closely with state and local authorities to provide education and training sessions to law enforcement and first responders.
“We are excited to bring our autonomous fleet to the state of Kansas, and ensure that the advantages of autonomous delivery on the middle mile can be realized by Kansans in the near-term,” said Richard Steiner, head of policy, Gatik. “We applaud Gov. Kelly for taking a proactive approach to enabling the safe deployment of autonomous vehicles, and look forward to laying down roots in the state of Kansas, creating a wealth of new jobs, and delivering essential goods to Kansans with speed and efficiency.”
Gatik and Walmart have worked closely with state legislators and regulators across multiple jurisdictions before. In 2019, Walmart and Gatik proposed legislation in Arkansas to pave the way for commercial operations to commence. In 2020, the companies received the first approval ever granted by the Arkansas State Highway Commission to remove the safety driver from Gatik’s autonomous trucks, following the completion of 18 months’ successful operations. The new legislation in Kansas sees the Sunflower State become the 25th in the US to allow fully autonomous vehicles to operate on public roads.
Since beginning commercial operations in 2019, Gatik said, it has achieved a 100% safety record across multiple operational sites in North America, including Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, and Ontario. In 2021 it became the first company to operate fully driverless commercial deliveries on a middle mile delivery route anywhere in the world, with Walmart in Arkansas.