The shipping and trucking industry has a problem: there aren’t enough long-haul drivers to meet with growing demands for road shipment. Fewer truckers are willing to take on extended runs that keep them far from home for longer periods of time.
These long runs, however, are in high demand as more and more goods need to cross the country. Seeing a labor gap to fill and a unique opportunity at a time when autonomous vehicles are becoming more viable, the tech startup Embark is working on developing safe and reliable self-driving trucks.
Self-Driving Trucks Clocking Miles
Embark is a newly launched tech venture started by Alex Rodrigues and Brandon Moak, both of the University of Waterloo in Canada. Testing of their self-driving truck began last summer and has since logged 10,000 miles. Earlier this year, Embark has started the process that could have them clocking even more miles on Nevada highways.
Image Source: Wikimedia
Not Quite Driverless—Or Truckerless
While there’s not yet a set timeline on the actual deployment of the autonomous trucks, Embark’s technology shows considerable promise. In testing, the trucks have been able to safely navigate potential obstacles, such as passing slower moving vehicles and switching lanes on undivided highways.
And as with many autonomous vehicle deployments and tests, the trucks are not truly driverless; they’re simply meant to make the job of human drivers a little easier during those long stretches. When the trucks enter more complex roadways, such as on or off ramps or city routes, the human driver would then take the wheel.
Revolutionary Technology On Board
In addition to easing a labor shortage, this technology could mean less expensive and speedier shipping, which are increasingly in demand as more consumers buy online. It may not be long before those trucks beside you on the interstate have revolutionary technology on board.
What are your thoughts on Embark’s venture? Tell us what you think about this technology in the comments.