Embark and Knight-Swift launch program for truck transfers using autonomous technologies
- First public initiative where a carrier directly owns and operates a truck equipped with Embark’s automated driving software
- Embark Trucks and Knight-Swift Transportation have initiated the 1st handover
- Embark and Knight-Swift are working together on several operational initiatives
Autonomous technology company Embark Trucks and Knight-Swift Transportation have initiated the first handover of an Embark-powered truck to the mega fleet as part of its truck transfer program.
Embark said the transfer program is the first public initiative where a carrier directly owns and operates a truck equipped with select features of Embark’s automated driving software. In addition, the program allows Embark to gain insight from having its system components work within a fleet’s duty cycle.
“I am excited to take delivery, so our drivers and customers can provide direct feedback on the technology as we use it in day-to-day operations to enable new safety and efficiency in trucking,” said Dave Jackson, Knight-Swift’s chief executive.
Drivers behind the wheel collecting data
Knight-Swift will place its drivers behind the wheel of an Embark-powered truck, allowing Knight-Swift to collect data regarding system safety and operational performance, according to the companies.
The first Embark-powered truck will begin integrating into Knight-Swift’s daily operations to move loads for large shippers between Los Angeles, Calif., and Phoenix, Ariz.
To meet the up-time requirements of a commercial fleet, Embark has focused on solidifying its Embark Universal Interface and Embark Driver software. This system hardening includes improvements in calibration and maintainability, enabling quick troubleshooting so trucks can get back on the road.
Embark and Knight-Swift Operational Initiatives
Embark and Knight-Swift are working together on several operational initiatives to prepare for the hand-off of Embark-powered trucks into Knight-Swift’s daily operations, according to a press release. These initiatives include pre- and post-trip inspections, training and certifying Knight-Swift drivers, and escalation policies for maintenance issues. Embark is also training Knight-Swift technicians to service and interact with the robotic trucks.
While on the road, Embark-powered trucks will be monitored and supported by Embark Guardian, a combination of cloud-based fleet management software and personnel, which will monitor the health of the Embark system while enhancing safety on the road.
Insights from partnership
This outside perspective and collaboration with Knight-Swift drivers bring insights to Embark’s system as the company continues to develop its commercialization effort and go-to-market strategy, according to the company announcement.
“Handing over the first Embark-powered truck to the Knight-Swift team tops off a year in which Embark has made critical strides to close the gap between testing our autonomous technology and scaling it across customer fleets,” said Embark Chief Executive Alex Rodrigues. “The Truck Transfer Program will be a model for the industry as we move from the research and development and pilot phase toward commercialization.”