Loblaw launches fully self-driving delivery trucks in Ontario

Loblaw has removed the safety drivers and now has a fleet of five fully self-driving delivery trucks operating on Toronto roads.

Last year the retail and grocery giant launched a pilot program with five Ford Transit 350 box trucks retrofitted with autonomous self-driving technology from California’s Gatik.

The trucks drove on public roads along five different routes to deliver goods to Loblaw retail locations around the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), running for 12 hours a day, seven days a week. For safety, all trucks had a human co-pilot to take over if necessary.

Today, that has changed and if you come across one you will now see no driver behind the steering wheel.

In an announcement on Wednesday, Gatik said this is a milestone for Canada as it marks the first time a commercial operation is using fully driverless vehicles for deliveries in the country.

Loblaw and Gatik decided to remove the drivers are completing more then 150,000 deliveries with a human behind the wheel and receiving approval from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.

The trucks feature 6 LiDAR sensors and six radar sensors, paired with another 12 cameras. Loblaw says they will continue to “transport ambient, refrigerated and frozen goods seven days a week from a Loblaw distribution facility to five nearby stores in the GTA.”

While Loblaw is moving to driverless delivery vehicles, they are also building out their own charging network at its stores across Canada. Called Park + Charge, the company has already opened two stations, and has plans for several more. Eventually they hope to add them to stores nationwide.

The company is also testing a fleet of electric semi trucks in British Columbia.

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