Loblaw Companies Ltd. has signed a partnership deal with technology company Gatik to test autonomous delivery vehicles in Toronto starting in January.
Under the multi-year agreement, Gatik will transport goods from an automated picking facility to retail locations across the Greater Toronto Area.
The company will operate five vehicles for Loblaw up to seven days a week, 12 hours a day, on five routes with fixed pick-up and drop-off locations.
"As more Canadians turn to online grocery shopping, we've looked at ways to make our supply chain more efficient. Middle-mile autonomous delivery is a great example," said Lauren Steinberg, senior vice-president, Loblaw Digital in a release. "With this initial roll-out in Toronto, we are able to move goods from our automated picking facility multiple times a day to keep pace with PC Express online grocery orders in stores around the city."
Gatik will outfit the trucks with refrigeration units, lift gates and its autonomous self-driving software for urban, suburban and highway driving.
All vehicles will have a safety driver as a co-pilot.
The agreement follows a 10-month on-road pilot in Toronto, with one autonomous delivery vehicle.