Self - Driving Trucks?

News You Can Use!


Embark’s autonomous trucking solution is showing off futuristic capabilities with a "simple technology and an incredibly strong business case..." The latest test truck made a coast-to-coast trip from L.A. California to Jacksonville, Florida, driving 2,400 miles from one end of the U.S. to the other.


The latest trip follows Embark‘s prior test route, which ran from L.A. to El Paso, and successfuly covers more than four times the distance than the first route. This recent 5 day trip included a safety driver on board behind the wheel to be ready to take over control - this extra security measure forced scheduled rest brakes to accomodate the human element. Upon approval, Embark expects the trip to take only two days in total. So get ready America - the future is upon us!

Embark’s goal isn’t to replace human drivers entirely - It just wants to make it possible for long-haul trips to be managed by fewer drivers, eliminating the need for team driving, for instance, and helping to address a lack of available qualified human drivers for this kind of shipping...which is currently in a pinch thanks to the recently initiated ELD Mandate. 


So what's next? 


As one can imagine, this is a slow process and human drivers are still expected to help with the parts of the route that don’t involve freeway and driving releasing some of the stress on supply and demand once their technology is in service, leaving the inner city roadwork to human drivers - like city deliveries and pick ups, but still there are many benefits to the shipping industry like:
  • efficiency
  • availability
  • safety
  • productivity

Embark has stepped up their game with this demonstration without using high-resolution, detailed maps of its route to inform its autonomous system, for instance; instead, it relies entirely on sensor data and its onboard machine learning - so think of a Smart Truck. Another efficiency measure in terms of preparation before establishing new routes, and Embark says its new 2,400 mile trip down the I-10 shows it can handle navigating major highways.

This is not the final solution, Embark’s truck has only just arrived back on the West Coast, and the team is still pulling all the data regarding disengagements and human intervention, but according to subjective reports from the drivers on board, Rodrigues says “the vast majority of the driving was autonomous,” with “hours at a time with no disengagements, and when they did occur they were usually only a few seconds”.

With partners like Peterbuilt, Data Collective and SV ANgel and 15 million in series A funding, Embark based out of San Francisco is growing the fleet in test vehicles, from two to five trucks in just four months. CEO Alex Rodrigues has a measurable goal that by the end of 2018, Embark hopes to have 40 trucks purchased for its fleet. 
Niki M.
Niki M.