Embark Trucks has a plan to develop and deploy technology that would allow trucks equipped with Embark’s autonomous technology to navigate in snowy conditions by the end of winter 2022.
The company’s proprietary and patent-pending vision map fusion technology allows Embark-equipped autonomous trucks to operate even where the surrounding terrain has been altered by snowfall. Embark has been conducting winter road data collection to develop enhanced perception capabilities using VMF that would enable the Embark Driver to safely navigate snowy and wet conditions, Embark officials said in a press release.
To better validate and measure the progress of the technology, Embark plans to demonstrate autonomous driving on snowy roads by the end of winter.
To date, autonomous trucking companies have largely avoided operating in regions that are home to snowy climates, as snow poses a challenge to the sensors and maps relied upon by autonomous vehicles, Embark officials said.
While driving in snow is not a capability Embark identified in order to commercialize in 2024, by continuing to develop the system for the most complex situations and scenarios, Embark will expand its autonomous driving capabilities and position itself to continue its national expansion following its first phase of rollout in the U.S. Sunbelt, Embark officials said.
In June 2021, Embark shared its initial “Roadmap to Driver Out”, detailing the 16 key technology achievements required to deploy autonomous technology in the U.S. Sunbelt. Embark has achieved 11 of these milestones.