Tyson Foods and Gatik AI, a leader in autonomous middle mile logistics, have entered into a multi-year collaboration to deploy autonomous refrigerated box trucks in Northwest Arkansas. The trucks will operate on predetermined short-haul, repeated routes 18 hours a day to support product flow from a local plant to the company’s distribution and storage facilities in the Rogers and Springdale, Ark., areas.
The collaboration will include multiple autonomous trucks, each equipped with a 26-ft purpose-built, temperature-controlled box, to transport refrigerated and frozen goods. The trucks also will have multiple sensor modalities custom-designed for fail-safe, short-haul B2B operations. Initially, a “safety driver” will be in the cab of each truck to monitor the autonomous system and take control of the truck, if necessary. If the project is successful in its initial phase, Tyson will give current drivers other transportation positions.
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“At Tyson Foods, we are innovating and using automation throughout our business, including in transportation,” says Patrick Simmons, vice president of transportation for Tyson Foods. “This partnership allows us to strategically place our drivers where they are needed most while still reliably and safely transporting protein from the plant to distribution centers.”