Loblaw commissions third-party safety review to support Gatik’s autonomous tech for fully driverless operations

Toronto –(Business Wire) — Gatik, the market leader in automated mid-mile logistics, today revealed details of an extensive third-party safety assessment conducted ahead of the deployment of Canada’s first fully driverless commercial operation. The safety assessment was commissioned by Loblaw Companies Limited (TSX: L, “Loblaw”), a leading Canadian food and drug retailer.

“Security is at the heart of everything we do at Gatik,” said Gautam Narang, CEO and co-founder of Gatik. “We integrate security into every aspect of our business, from initial concept to commercial deployment. It covers every aspect of our technology, processes and operations, and is deeply ingrained in the company’s cultural makeup. We are pleased to be part of a broad range of security review and strongly encourage this level of review to become the standard in our industry.”

Gatik operates its network of autonomous vans in several cities in the United States and Canada. This includes fully driverless operation at two sites and automated operation with safe drivers in 5 markets. Currently, the autonomous vehicle (AV) industry is awaiting the implementation of common standards to assess and confirm the safety of AV systems before rolling them out to wider adoption. Today’s announcement underscores Gatik’s commitment to providing transparency and clarity to the company’s systems engineering approach to ensure the safe development and deployment of its autonomous fleets.

An exhaustive three-month evaluation of Gatik’s technology was conducted to assess safety ahead of the launch of Gatik’s fully driverless commercial delivery service in partnership with Loblaw. Deployed a team of third-party experts to create and execute a framework for evaluating Gatik’s end-to-end technology solutions, covering ISO/SAE and NHTSA’s range of standards, including security standards NIST Framework, SAE J3061, ISO/SAE 21434 and UNECE R155. The evaluation included a rigorous set of system and component-level tests, the successful completion of which provided clear and comprehensive validation that Gatik’s fully driverless technology is acceptable and safe to operate on public roads.

The assessment begins by examining Gatik’s technology solutions, subsystems and their capabilities, development and deployment practices, and standards and regulatory compliance. The assessment confirmed that Gatik has met the following Autonomous Driving System (ADS) requirements:

✔ The automation level of the ADS function is clearly defined according to the SAE automation level in J3016. The definition of the level of automation identifies the agents responsible for dynamic driving tasks (DDT) in different situations and specifies the intended use of the vehicle.

✔ ADS functionality has/has a well-defined Operational Design Domain (ODD). The domain constraints are known and the vehicle will respond safely and predictably when the ODD is exceeded.

✔ Vehicles have OEDR capabilities that adapt to their ODD to take safe and appropriate actions in everyday traffic situations as well as unexpected events.

✔ Where applicable, the vehicle and ADS comply with safety-related standards and best practices, such as those set by SAE International and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

✔ Safety risks are considered throughout the development of the vehicle and ADS technology. Adequate pre-deployment testing has been carried out and validation methodologies have been employed to verify performance, safety of intended functionality, occupant safety and fault handling. Validation and validation have been used to ensure safe integration and operation of vehicle and ADS functions in everyday traffic, as well as response to unexpected events and various weather conditions.

✔ Vehicles are equipped with safety systems with appropriate redundancy that continuously monitor system performance, perform fault detection and hazard analysis, signal any faults, and ultimately take corrective action or revert to a minimum risk state if required.

✔ Vehicle controls are user-friendly (i.e. intuitive and easy to understand). The vehicle can communicate key information to occupants and other road users when needed, taking into account relevant accessibility factors, the needs of different occupants, and the intended use of the vehicle.

✔ Specific actions have been taken to ensure that the capabilities and limitations of the vehicle’s ADS functions are understood, as well as the vehicle’s safety backup conditions.

✔ Vehicles are equipped with adequate active and passive safety features to protect occupants and other road users and mitigate injury and damage in the event of system failure. The vehicle will enter a safe state after a system failure and will communicate safety-critical information to passengers, first responders and emergency services.

✔ Adequate design and mitigation strategies have been developed to protect ADS-equipped vehicles from cybersecurity threats.

✔ In the event of a system update or aftermarket repair or modification, steps will be taken to verify that all vehicle systems continue to operate safely as intended.

✔ In the event of a collision or other incident, data collected by the vehicle and ADS features is shared with federal, provincial, and municipal law enforcement and government agencies to support investigations, including defect and collision investigations.

In the assessment, Gatik’s systems were tested, including: assessment of end-to-end technology solutions, development and deployment processes, standards and regulatory compliance, risk assessment and assessment of controls, and physical component, subsystem and vehicle-level testing Physical testing of these vehicles in Gatik’s closed course includes fault injection and several edge case tests – such as degradation of sensor data and injection faults, GPS jamming/spoofing to disrupt navigation, disabling brakes, or sending errors to objects ahead acceleration command. This also includes overlaying radar and lidar data that represents false airway conditions to the system, while having real objects in front of the truck simulate sensor failures or malicious hacking. The results confirmed that Gatik’s self-driving technology does not pose an unreasonable risk to the safety of other road users.

“Canada is in a position of great potential for the commercial delivery of autonomous driving, an area led by Loblaw,” said Vivek Khindria, senior vice president of cybersecurity, cyber and technology risk. “We commissioned an independent third-party evaluation to validate the safety of Gatik’s autonomous systems, and happy with the results.”

“Safety is not achieved through any one factor, but through a combination of best practices, multiple layers of system redundancy, cutting-edge technology, exhaustive validation, sound engineering judgment, and continually building our proven track record of delivering exceptional results,” Apeksha said Kumavat, co-founder and chief engineer of Gatik. “We seized the opportunity to put our system through a rigorous vetting process and validate our technology before embarking on a fully driverless business with the largest retailer in the country.”

Gatik’s fail-safe approach to fully driverless operations builds on the company’s underlying Operational Design Domain (ODD) framework, which aims to provide a structure to define the capabilities of an autonomous stack at any given point and connect those capabilities to a route and operating area. This enables Gatik to incrementally deploy, test, and validate target versions, enabling structured scaling of ODD in a predictable and value-driven manner for fully driverless operations. This, in turn, enables Gatik to be deployed on a given safety-proven route while developing additional functionality on other routes, paving the way for continued commercial expansion of Gatik’s fully driverless business.

About Getick

Gatik is a leader in autonomous mid-mile logistics, using its fleet of light and medium trucks to deliver goods safely and efficiently. The company is focused on short-haul B2B logistics for Fortune 500 retailers, and in 2021 will become the first company in the world to operate fully driverless commercial deliveries on mid-miles. Gatik’s Class 3-6 autonomous vans are commercially deployed in multiple markets, including Ontario, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. Founded in 2017 by self-driving technology industry veterans, the company works with industry leaders including Ryder, Goodyear, Isuzu and Cummins, and has offices in Toronto, Ontario and Mountain View, California. In 2022, Gatik was named to Forbes’ list of America’s Best Startup Employers and Fast Company as a world-changing idea. In 2021, Gatik was named to the Forbes AI 50 list and named a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer.

About Loblaw Companies Limited (TSX: L)

Loblaw Companies Limited is a leader in Canada’s food and pharmaceutical industries and the nation’s largest retailer. Loblaw provides Canadians with grocery, pharmacy, health and beauty, apparel, grocery, financial services and wireless mobility products and services. Loblaw’s portfolio of more than 2,400 businesses, franchises and associates employs approximately 200,000 full- and part-time employees, making it one of Canada’s largest private sector employers.

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