San Francisco-based autonomous trucking developer Embark Trucks, Inc., is expanding to Texas, adding a local facility and launching an autonomous trucking lane between Houston and San Antonio, the company said today.
The move accelerates the tech firm’s testing and go-to-market strategy and gives it access to the region’s trucking resources and expertise, company leaders said. Embark plans to begin hauling freight for its logistics industry partners between San Antonio and Houston as early as 2022, and is planning the commercial launch of its Embark Driver autonomous driving technology in 2024.
“Texas is the center of America's trucking industry, and it’s the perfect home for Embark’s expanded operations. We’re excited by the talent and entrepreneurial spirit that Houston has to offer,” Stephen Houghton, chief operations and fleet officer at Embark, said in a statement. “Our new footprint in Texas will support our growing network of partners and fuel our rapid growth across the Sunbelt. As we scale our operations, we will continue to work closely with local and state governments and other organizations so that we improve the safety, sustainability, and efficiency of trucking with autonomous technology.”
The company also announced a partnership with Texas A&M University to support the expansion efforts. Embark will use a state-of-the-art test track on the school’s RELLIS campus for vehicle testing while also working closely with its Center for Autonomous Vehicles and Sensor Systems (CANVASS) and its mechanical engineering faculty.
“Embark’s mission to safely, robustly, and effectively roll out commercial autonomous trucks aligns closely with TEES’ [ Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station] mission to turn research and development activities into useful applications and business activities,” according to Dr. Srikanth Saripalli, director of CANVASS. “We’re excited to welcome Embark to our RELLIS Campus. Our faculty and students will have the unique opportunity to apply theory to the real world by working together with Embark on engineering projects.”
Embark’s expansion into Texas also builds on several years of engagement with Texas state officials to share information on the development of autonomous trucks. Embark is a longstanding participant in the Texas Department of Transportation's (TxDOT) Connected and Automated Vehicle (CAV) Task Force, helping prepare the Texas transportation system to take advantage of autonomous vehicle technology.
Embark went public and began trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange in November.