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Embark Trucks Inc. announced that it will be expanding into Texas. The company plans to launch an autonomous trucking lane between Houston and San Antonio, and open an autonomous trucking facility in the Houston area.
“Texas is the center of America’s trucking industry, and it’s the perfect home for Embark’s expanded operations. We’re excited by the talent and entrepreneurial spirit that Houston has to offer,” said Stephen Houghton, chief operations and fleet officer at Embark. “Our new footprint in Texas will support our growing network of partners and fuel our rapid growth across the Sunbelt. As we scale our operations, we will continue to work closely with local and state governments and other organizations so that we improve the safety, sustainability, and efficiency of trucking with autonomous technology.”
The Houston area was attractive to the autonomous truck developer for three reasons. The first is the physical location. Houston sits in the middle of over 600 miles of trucking lanes that the company says is ideal for automation.
The stretch of road is too long for a person to complete in a single day because of hours of service limitations. An autonomous truck, however, could complete the run in just 12 hours.
Next, Embark looked to Houston because of the industry players located in the area. The company announced a partnership with Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station. The partnership will allow Embark to use Texas A&M’s test track, and work closely with the Center for Autonomous Vehicles and Sensor Systems (CANVASS) as well as faculty at the University.
“Embark’s mission to safely, robustly, and effectively roll out commercial autonomous trucks aligns closely with TEES’ mission to turn research and development activities into useful applications and business activities,” said Dr. Srikanth Saripalli, director of CANVASS. “We’re excited to welcome Embark to our RELLIS Campus. Our faculty and students will have the unique opportunity to apply theory to the real world by working together with Embark on engineering projects.”
The final reason Embark picked the Houston area was the company’s already established relationship with the Texas Department of Transportation and Public Safety. The company has been a participant in the Texas Department of Transportation’s Connected and Automated Vehicle Task Force.
Embark plans to begin hauling freight for its partners in 2022, begin its driver-out pilot in 2023 and commercially launch the Embark Driver in 2024. A month ago, it went public through a SPAC deal on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “EMBK”.