Autonomous truck developer Embark Trucks raised $30 million in a funding round led by Sequoia Capital, a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm. Embark has raised $47 million since its 2011 founding, according to Crunchbase, a platform for finding business information on public and private companies.
In our debut episode of RoadSigns, we ask: What does the move toward autonomy mean for the truck driver? Hear a snippet from Alex Rodrigues, CEO of Embark, above, and get the full program by going to RoadSigns.TTNews.com.
The money will be used to expand Embark’s fleet to 100 trucks from the current five, beef up staff and purchase the cameras, radar and lidar systems used in autonomous vehicle applications.
Embark is seeking to carve out a space for itself in the rapidly evolving autonomous trucking space, competing with Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo division, Starsky Robotics, TuSimple, Uber and others.
Embark last winter became the first autonomous truck developer to drive its vehicle coast to coast, driving a Peterbilt truck from Ontario, Calif., to Jacksonville, Fla. Most of its shipping today is between Ontario and Phoenix for multiple Fortune 500 companies, according to a spokesperson.
Embark’s current system is considered Level 2 automation, at which a driver must actively monitor the vehicle as it drives itself. Embark CEO Alex Rodrigues told Transport Topics in January that the company seeks to develop its technology to Level 4 automation, at which the vehicle can travel on limited, specific highway routes with no driver. These Level 4 driverless trucks would operate as part of a freight system, in which trailers are exchanged between local drivers and driverless trucks at freight hubs situated along highways.