Embark Trucks, a San Francisco developer of autonomous technology for commercial trucks, said Thursday it has 14,200 reservations for its system, once it is launched in 2024.
The reservations are non-binding, but they reflect a vote of confidence by a range of trucking fleets who want to deploy the Embark Driver software.
“With these reservations, Embark is providing a competitive advantage to fleet partners who have invested the time and energy in preparing to deploy first,” said Alex Rodrigues, CEO of Embark. “In just a few years, we believe our partners will be able to operate with a next-generation product that is safer, more efficient, and more sustainable.”
Embark and its carrier partners plan in 2024 to begin rapidly deploying the confirmed trucks on high-priority lanes across the country.
Founded in 2016, Embark says it was the first to test self-driving trucks on public roads in the U.S., Rodrigues told CNBC last June that the company licenses its own software on a per-mile basis in a way that’s distinct from competitors.
Each reservation was based on the needs of individual fleet operator. Embark and its partners analyzed billions of miles across millions of loads to determine the incremental benefits that autonomous trucks can deliver. By considering factors such as region of operation, lane length and frequency, Embark and its partners were able to prioritize lanes that deliver a larger savings from conversion to automation.
For example, automating a 600-mile trip is expected to generate significantly more value than automating a similar 500-mile run. This is because a 500-mile run can be completed in 10 hours manually with a single driver, while a 600 mile run could take approximately 22 hours to complete manually, assuming full compliance with federal regulation, which require a driver to take a 10-hour break after 11 hours of operation.
Last June, Embark went public through a $5.2 billion special purpose acquisition corporation (SPAC) deal led by Northern Genesis Acquisition Corp.
Funding raised in that transaction are expected to fully fund Embark through 2024, when it plans to launch the Embark Driver software.
That followed initial public offerings by other self-driving truck startups, including Plus and TuSimple Holdings
“There is a strong case for early deployment of Embark’s technology in key segments of our network, where it can be used as a tool to provide critical safety enhancements for our drivers and ultimately work towards the goal of improving the driving job,” said Dave Jackson, CEO of Knight-Swift Transportation, a large trucking company based in Phoenix, and a member of Embark’s advisory board.
EmbarIn addition, Embark has made progress with its Universal Interface, which is a set of standardize self-driving components that are compatible with different manufacturers of large commercial trucks. The fleets in its partnership development program include trucks made by Freightliner, International, Peterbilt and Volvo.