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Embark Trucks to start autonomous truck route in Texas

Freight will be transported between Houston and San Antonio next year

Embark Trucks said its autonomous trucking lane between Houston and San Antonio will accelerate the company's go-to-market strategy. (Photo: Embark Trucks)

Autonomous trucking software developer Embark Trucks announced Thursday the launch of a self-driving trucking lane between Houston and San Antonio. 

Officials for the autonomous trucking startup expect to begin hauling freight for Embark’s customers in Texas next year. The autonomous trucks initially will use backup drivers for safety.

Embark Trucks (Nasdaq: EMBK) also recently opened a trucking facility in Houston that aims to aid the company’s commercial launch of the Embark Driver driverless software by 2024.

“Our new footprint in Texas will support our growing network of partners and fuel our rapid growth across the Sunbelt,” Stephen Houghton, Embark’s chief operations and fleet officer, said in a statement. “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.”

Embark did not specify the size of its initial autonomous truck fleet in Texas.

“We’ll have a smaller portion of our truck fleet based in Texas initially and have more trucks on order and plan to significantly scale our Texas fleet in 2022,” Embark spokesman Misha Rindisbacher told FreightWaves.

Embark also did not disclose what type of feight it will be moving through Texas, but the route will serve its partner development program members — Werner Enterprises, Mesilla Valley Transportation and Bison Transport.

“We can’t disclose specifics at this time, but hope to share more in 2022,” Rindisbacher said.

Along with Embark Trucks, autonomous trucking companies Waymo, Aurora, TuSimple and Kodiak have also set up shop in Texas with plans to sending self-driving transportation around parts of state and the U.S. Southwest.

Watch: TuSimple’s Daily Autonomous test from Phoenix to Tucson.

To support the expansion into Texas, Embark announced a partnership with the Texas A&M University Engineering Experiment Station. Embark will utilize Texas A&M’s test track and its Center for Autonomous Vehicles and Sensor Systems. 

San Francisco-based Embark Trucks went public through a merger with Northern Genesis Acquisition Corp. II on Nov. 11. The deal valued Embark at about $5 billion.

Embark secured 14,200 prelaunch reservations for its driverless software in October from trucking fleets that want to deploy the Embark Driver software.

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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 Florida, Maryland and Texas. Contact [email protected]