Embark Trucks has taken the next step in its journey to create a coast-to-coast network of autonomous truck transfer points by preparing key Sunbelt markets to be served by Embark fleet partners.
Embark’s network, what the company calls its coverage map, includes nine transfer point sites in cities across the Sunbelt, including new locations in Dallas and El Paso, Texas, Atlanta, and Jacksonville, Florida. The transfer sites will accommodate planned freight carried by Embark-powered trucks and provide operational support for carriers and shippers those trucks.
"We are delivering on one of our key 2022 objectives by activating these key markets as one cohesive network today, giving carrier partners the line of sight they need to plan their deployment of Embark-equipped trucks, improving the ecosystem’s ability to rapidly scale in 2024,” said Embark CEO Alex Rodrigues.
Embark strategically selected these nine sites to eventually automate crucial shipping lanes for its carrier partners. The expanded network that Embark is positioned to serve through these nine sites covered 9.5 billion miles of annual freight in 2020, including Dallas to Houston, San Antonio to Houston, and Dallas to Atlanta – some of the highest-volume inter-city lanes in the US.
By opening these nine sites, 28% of U.S. shipping volume in the Sunbelt is available for autonomous transport by Embark’s fleet partners, who will be able to own and operate the trucks and to begin hauling goods autonomously once Embark’s technology is commercialized, Embark officials said in a press release.
By operating autonomously across the network, Embark’s carrier partners should be able to deliver faster than is currently possible, due to 24/7 operations. Embark officials say 41% of the shipment miles in the expanded Coverage Map areas are on lanes that are longer than drivers can complete in a single shift due to Hours of Service regulations. Embark anticipates that the 3.3 million loads on these lanes should become eligible for earlier delivery once automated.
Embark secured real estate sites and support services through its partnerships with Alterra Property Group and Ryder.
In working with Alterra, Embark was able to structure flexible usage agreements on its sites that enable Embark to scale across specific properties. As Embark continues to build density across the Embark Coverage Map ahead of deployment, the company will look to expand to additional sites and leverage other utilization structures such as pay-per-use.
How are Embark’s Autonomous Freight Transfer Sites Being Used Today?
The Embark Coverage Map is being used in conjunction with Embark’s fleet partners through multiple pilots. To support fleets operating on the network, Embark, through a long-standing partnership, has deployed Ryder operators to certain Embark Coverage Map sites to provide inspections and support services necessary to keep trucks moving in an efficient and safe manner.