Gatik of Mountain View, California has announced plans to expand operations to Kansas after working with Walmart Inc. of Bentonville to get autonomous vehicle operations legalized in the state.
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly signed a bill last Friday that allows driverless vehicles to operate on public roads. The bill requires the owner of a driverless vehicle to submit a law enforcement interaction plan to the Kansas Highway Patrol before beginning operations.
Gatik, Walmart's driverless delivery partner, worked with the retail giant to develop and propose legislation to legalize autonomous vehicles in state, the company said in a news release. Also involved in the process were state lawmakers, the Kansas Department of Transportation and the Kansas Sheriffs' Association.
Richard Steiner, Gatik's head of policy, said deliveries are expected to begin in the "near-term."
"We applaud Governor 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," he said in the release.
Gatik said it will provide education and training to state and local law enforcement and first responders before launching.
The company currently has operations in Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana and Ontario, Canada.
Deliveries in Arkansas had included a passenger in the cab for emergencies, but in November, after 18 months of successful operations, the company removed the passenger and went fully autonomous.
Gatik has logged more than 200,000 miles of accident-free deliveries.