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Embark Trucks expands operations into 4 new markets

Move aims to create coast-to-coast network of freight-transfer points

Embark Trucks has opened four new trucking facilities across the country to create a nationwide network of transfer-point sites for autonomous trucks. (Photo: Embark Trucks)

Embark Trucks announced Tuesday it has opened four new trucking facilities across the country, giving the company nine nationwide transfer-point sites to accommodate planned autonomous freight shipments covering key markets.

The autonomous trucking software developer has opened new locations in Dallas, El Paso, Texas, Atlanta and Jacksonville, Florida — joining existing facilities in Arizona, California and Texas.

Sam Abidi, Embark’s chief commercial officer, said the company chose the newest locations through modeling different commercial traffic patterns across the U.S., with a focus on sites in the Sun Belt. Embark secured optimized real estate sites and support services through its partnerships with Alterra Property Group and Ryder.

“As we thought about expanding capacity across the U.S., we really thought about, ‘Where do we get the most bang for the buck?’ If you’re going to open up a lane, how much traffic occurs there?” Abidi told FreightWaves. “In figuring out the lanes that we were going to expand into, we had a rather unique data set we were able to use, which is the actual main traffic from our partners.”

Through its partner development program, carriers like Werner Enterprises, Bison Transport and Mesilla Valley Transportation and shippers like AB InBev and HP Inc. have worked with Embark to commercialize self-driving trucks.

Embark’s nationwide network of hubs are positioned for commercially viable long-haul autonomous freight. The hubs across California, Arizona, Texas, Georgia and Florida are located along key 600-mile-or-more trucking lanes.

Abidi said commercial hauls of that length are ideal for automation because a 500-mile run can be completed in 10 hours manually with a single driver. While a 600-mile-or-more run could take 22 hours to complete manually, assuming full compliance with the federal hours-of-service rules that require a driver to take a 10-hour break after 11 hours of operation, that same run could take just 12 hours to finish autonomously.

“When we’ve talked with shippers in the past, this is something that’s come up again and again, with them saying, ‘If you can take our long loads autonomously, getting them there in half the time, we don’t have to worry about the missing delivery times,” Abidi said. “Rising past 600 miles, you create a lot more value for the customers, so we’ve tried to stitch together a network that has both high-volume lanes but also greater-than-600-mile runs.”

San Francisco-based Embark Trucks (NASDAQ: EMBK), founded in 2016, touts itself as one of the country’s longest-running, self-driving truck program developers.

In 2021, Embark and HP Inc. began shipping computer printers from Los Angeles to Phoenix on supervised weekly autonomous runs. The company provided FreightWaves with a demo of the operation in June. Embark also opened a facility in Houston to launch a self-driving trucking lane between Houston and San Antonio last year.

In June, Embark went public through a $5.2 billion special purpose acquisition corporation deal led by Northern Genesis Acquisition Corp.

In August, Embark Trucks had to conduct a 1-for-20 reverse stock split to get its shares above the $1 price required to keep its seat on the Nasdaq. 

Embark officials told FreightWaves there are no plans for layoffs or reductions at the company and they still plan to launch the Embark Driver software in 2024.

Watch: What is Embark Trucks accomplishing?

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  1. Ray

    No one wants to be a long-haul truck driver. Freight companies can’t find drivers. Train operators may leave their trade. Pilots don’t want to fly. How will goods move from point to point?

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Noi Mahoney

Noi Mahoney is a Texas-based journalist who covers cross-border trade, logistics and supply chains for FreightWaves. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in English in 1998. Mahoney has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working for newspapers in Maryland and Texas. Contact [email protected]