20 Aug Self Driving Truck Completes Cross Country Trip
Embark is a tech startup based in San Francisco making strides for the future of trucking. Last summer, its autonomous truck made the cross-country 2,400-mile trek from California to Florida. The journey is now turning heads among tech and trucking industries – along with those of other highway motorists who notice a truck driving on its own!
The Embark truck that made the journey is an outfitted Peterbilt tractor. It was modified with a combination of cameras, radar and lidar, and a form of artificial intelligence that processes the sensor’s captured data. With that data, the vehicle can comprehend its surroundings and drive safely on its own.
This model is a level two in automation, which requires a person to monitor the vehicle at all times. However, the drivers that accompanied Embark’s truck reported that “the vast majority of the driving was autonomous.” And they explained that when they did take the wheel, it was only for a short period. The trip was completed in five days to accommodate the drivers’ rest breaks. However, the company has plans for shortening the drive to just two days with a level four autonomous truck. This cut in time would maximize efficiency and require fewer drivers.
Though Embark strives toward efficiency, their intent is not to completely replace drivers. Their goal is focused on long hauls like this 2,400-mile trip and to utilize drivers and trucks in a new way. With autonomous vehicles, the need for team driving forces will be eliminated. And as such, the trucking industry will no longer lack the sufficient number of drivers needed for a job. However, drivers will still be an essential part of the process.
With the company’s goal of reaching level four autonomy, Embark plans for trucks to drive from hub to hub without a driver on particular highways. However, local truck drivers will still be needed to take over driving on smaller, city roads which require more specialized technique and skill. It is anticipated that the number of lost long-haul jobs will be off-set by these new local truck driving jobs.
Last summer, Embark started with one autonomous truck. However, the tech company hopes to make its technology available to a wider variety of vehicles and to expand its fleet. With changes in the trucking industry, so too are the legal challenges that relate. And we at The Law Offices of William D. Shapiro are prepared to meet your needs amid these technological advancements. Do not hesitate to call on us for legal expertise, counsel, and advocacy regarding car and truck accident law.