Autonomous trucking software developer Embark Trucks is collaborating with system-on-a-chip maker Nvidia Corp. to handle the enormous amount of data its plug-and-play autonomous software system generates.
Embark is at least the second autonomous trucking company to tap Nvidia, which is an investor in and works with TuSimple Holdings. Torc Robotics, owned by Daimler Trucks, is using Amazon Web Services to help with its computing needs in creating a Level 4 high-autonomy Freightliner Cascadia Class 8 tractor.
The Embark Universal Interface, which the startup designed to be compatible with trucks from the four major U.S. truck manufacturers, “requires an enormous amount of compute power in our trucks” Ajith Dasari, Embark head of hardware platform, said in a press release.
“The Nvidia Drive platform meets this need head-on, and allows us to outfit our partners and customers with the best self-driving hardware and software currently on the market,” Dasari said.
Powering interface and driver software
The Nvidia Drive autonomous vehicle compute platform powers the interface and the Embark Driver software. Embark intends to equip its test fleet with the automotive-grade, high-performance and energy-efficient Nvidia system to scale and integrate the platform within carriers’ fleets. Embark has worked with Nvidia for four years.
Embark launched a Partner Development Program with Werner Enterprises (NASDAQ: WERN), Mesilla Valley Transportation and Bison Transport in April. Shippers Anheuser Busch InBev (NYSE: BUD) and HP Inc. are also involved.
The manufacturer-agnostic interface enables carriers to begin testing and deploying Embark self-driving software on trucks from the carrier’s preferred manufacturer.
Other autonomous trucking startups have one or two specific partners. PACCAR Inc., (NASDAQ: PCAR) paired with Aurora Innovation. But Waymo Via also is equipping Peterbilt test trucks with the fifth-generation Waymo Driver software that Daimler Trucks will use on Freightliner Cascadias in addition to the internal program with Torc.
TuSimple (NASDAQ: TSP) is working with TRATON Group’s Navistar to bring a ground-up autonomous International LT to market in 2024.
Embark’s universal interface is a set of standardized self-driving components and the flexible interfaces that integrate Embark’s autonomous technology onto trucks from Freightliner, Navistar, PACCAR and Volvo, which account for the majority of Class 8 trucks on the road nationwide.
The Nvidia Drive scalable platform features co-developed hardware and software that work together to combine deep learning, sensor fusion and surround vision for driving safety. A single development process covers an entire fleet from automated driver assistance systems, considered Level 2 semi-automated driving, all the way to Level 5 fully autonomous vehicles.
“By selecting Nvidia Drive, Embark will help accelerate the development of commercial self-driving software-as-a-service for the trucking industry, achieving a safer and more efficient freight ecosystem,” said Rishi Dhall, vice president of automotive business at Nvidia.