Crystal Who, Joseph White
Jan 4 (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp is in preliminary talks to invest in California-based self-driving startup Gatik as part of a cloud partnership with the company.
Microsoft plans to invest more than $10 million in a funding round that will value Gatik at more than $700 million, the sources added. As part of the deal, Gatik will use Microsoft’s cloud and edge computing platform Azure to develop automated truck delivery technology.
The terms of the deal are still subject to change, the sources added.
Microsoft and Gatick declined to comment.
Microsoft, like other big tech companies, has been pouring money into self-driving technology lately. In January 2021, Microsoft invested in his GM-owned Cruise. The company focuses on robo-taxis, and he values the company at $30 billion. Cruise plans to use Azure to power its self-driving car solution for commercial use, competing with Alphabet’s Waymo and Amazon’s Zoox.
Self-driving technology is seen as a game-changer for the transportation and logistics industry, but faces setbacks due to regulatory concerns over safety and difficulty in financing in a slowing market.
In November, Ford and Volkswagen shut down their self-driving technology arm, Argo AI, saying developing a self-driving “robo-taxis” was “more difficult than sending a man to the moon.”
Founded in 2017 by industry veterans Gautam Narang and Arjun Narang, Gatik focuses on middle-mile B2B logistics for the retail industry.
Since 2021, the company has launched fully unmanned commercial delivery services with Walmart Inc and Loblaw Companies Ltd, while Gatik operates short-haul box truck deliveries in Arkansas and Ontario, Canada.
Raised over $120 million from investors including Koch Disruptive Technologies, Innovation Endeavors, Goodyear Ventures and Ryder Ventures.
In the first quarter of this year, Gatik plans to integrate its Class 6 self-driving box trucks into Pitney Bowes’ e-commerce logistics network in Dallas, Texas, with the aim of expediting deliveries and reducing logistics costs. increase. (Reporting by Krystal Hu and Joe White, Editing by Edmund Klamann)