Japan-based Itochu Corporation has invested in Gatik AI, Inc., a US-based (California) company developing autonomous driving technology for commercial trucks and providing logistics services utilising its self-driving vehicles in North America.

Logistics problems have become a major issue in the US as a result of a rapid increase in freight volume due to the expansion of e-commerce, as well as increased driver costs and an increasing shortage of drivers. The growing demand for autonomous driving under these circumstances has led to the advancement of autonomous driving technology and the autonomous driving businesses is rapidly progressing ahead of the rest of the world in the US.

In addition to the development of autonomous driving software, Gatik has expertise in the overall design, development, testing and evaluation of autonomous vehicles. They have successfully been operating L4 commercial deliveries on public roads (including highways and regular roads) since 2021.

Gatik also provides logistics services using autonomous driving vehicles in the so-called “middle mile logistics segment”, between shipper’s warehouses and between warehouses and retail locations.

Gatik says it is working to resolve the issues the whole logistics industry faces by building various required functions within the entire autonomous driving value chain, and at the same time further developing the autonomous driving business utilising commercial vehicles.

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Itochu is looking for profit opportunities downstream and has long been engaged in vehicle and parts logistics, finance, and retail businesses in the automobile industry in the US.

Through the capital alliance (details not disclosed), both companies will work to expand the value chain in the downstream area, including establishing synergies in the existing wholesale and sales financing businesses for commercial vehicles in the US.