Tyson Foods, Inc., is teaming up with Gatik AI, Inc., in a multi-year collaboration to deploy autonomous, “self-driving” refrigerated box trucks to bolster Tyson routes in Northwest Arkansas. Operating 18 hours a day, trucks will deliver Tyson, Jimmy Dean and BallPark products, among others, to the company’s distribution and storage facilities in the Rogers and Springdale, Ark., areas.
“The deployment will introduce Gatik trucks equipped with commercial-grade autonomous technology to the Tyson supply chain, operating on predetermined short-haul, repeated routes to support fast and efficient product flow from plant to storage facilities,” Tyson said in a release. “In a nationwide truck driver shortage, these autonomous trucks are an innovative and safe way to add resources that will allow the company to elevate drivers to other transportation positions in the Tyson business, while ensuring continuous supply chain reliability.”
Beginning this week, the collaboration includes multiple trucks with the potential for expansion at other Tyson locations in the future. A safety driver will initially be present in the cab to monitor the autonomous system and take command of operating the truck if required.
“The trucks are equipped with a 26-foot, temperature-controlled box purpose-built to transport refrigerated and frozen goods quickly and safely and multiple sensor modalities that are custom-designed for fail-safe short-haul B2B operations,” Tyson said.
The partnership is expected to provide the company with increased asset utilization within its short-haul logistics network, assist with inventory objectives, all while supporting a transition to a more responsive, high-frequency approach to goods movement. Additionally, autonomous trucks operate with increased efficiency and sustainability, leading to reduced emissions and enhanced fuel economy.
“At Tyson Foods, we are innovating and using automation throughout our business, including in transportation,” said 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.”