Driverless Truck Company Expands Into Texas Promising ‘Driver-Out’ Test Runs by 2023
San Francisco, CA — A driverless technology maker is expanding it’s fleet of self-driving trucks into Texas and promising to begin “driver-out” test runs by 2023.
On Thursday, Embark Trucks announced it is now operating a new autonomous trucking lane between Houston and San Antonio.
In a statement, the company said it chose Houston as a hub because the city is “uniquely positioned” for commercially viable long-haul autonomous freight.
“Houston is located at the center of key 600+ mile trucking lanes which are ideal for automation, as they cannot be completed in a single day by a human driver due to hours-of-service (HOS) limitations,” Embark explained. “Hauls on such lanes can see rapid improvements in speed using autonomous freight.”
For example, Embark said, “a 600 mile run could take approximately 22 hours to complete manually assuming full compliance with the federal HOS rules, while that same run would take just 12 hours to complete autonomously.”
In addition, Embark also unveiled its new autonomous trucking facility in Houston and announced a partnership with the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station.
The company plans to utilize Texas A&M’s state-of-the-art test track and work closely with the Center for Autonomous Vehicles and Sensor Systems (CANVASS) as it prepares for its “driver-out pilot” scheduled in 2023.
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Embark hopes this partnership and advanced testing will help it overcome the remaining barriers for widespread deployment of its driverless software by 2024.
“These milestones represent the final hurdles to deploying commercially viable autonomous trucks, and include challenges such as emergency vehicle interactions, pulling over to safety in emergency situations, and performing evasive maneuvers, among others,” the company stated.
The Silicon Valley startup went public last month at a $5 billion valuation and is now trading on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “EMBK.”
Embark is also financially backed by some of trucking’s largest carriers including: Knight-Swift, Werner, DHL, Mesilla Valley Transport, and Canadian trucking giant Bison Transport.
It has already received more than 14,000 reservations for trucks equipped with its driverless software.