Embark Unveils Technical Roadmap to Navigate Snowy Conditions with Autonomous Trucks
• Technical breakthrough to be completed with an industry-first demonstration by end of winter 2022
• Testing and validation of enhanced perception capabilities is already underway
• Navigation through snowy conditions is another key hurdle to commercial deployment of autonomous trucks, and accelerates Embark’s commercialization nationwide
SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 13, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Embark Trucks, Inc. (Nasdaq: EMBK, “Embark”), a leading developer of autonomous technology for the trucking industry, today announced a roadmap to develop and deploy technology that would allow Embark-equipped trucks to operate in snowy conditions autonomously. Embark is planning to develop and publicly demonstrate a capability which leverages the Company’s patent-pending Vision Map Fusion (VMF) technology to enable Embark-equipped trucks to navigate snowy conditions autonomously by the end of winter 2022.
In June 2021, Embark shared its initial “Roadmap to Driver Out”1, detailing the 16 key technology achievements required to deploy autonomous technology in the US Sunbelt. Embark has already achieved 11 of these milestones, and plans to complete the remaining 5 between now and commercial deployment of its technology in 2024.
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 class-leading autonomous driving capabilities and position itself to continue its national expansion following its anticipated Phase I Sunbelt rollout in 2024.
Navigating Snow with Best-In-Class Perception
To date, autonomous trucking companies have largely avoided operating in regions that are home to snowy climates, as snow poses a unique challenge to the sensors and maps relied upon by autonomous vehicles. Snow presents a challenge for even the most experienced drivers, but being able to safely drive in snowy conditions is required to ensure continuity and efficiency in supply chains.
Many AV companies have built autonomous driving software that relies on HD maps to navigate the road. This type of map-reliant AV software often fails in snowy conditions because it expects that the environment it senses will closely match what is in its maps, which may no longer be true after a snowfall.
Embark has a significant advantage when it comes to addressing snowy roads. The Company’s proprietary and patent pending VMF 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. To better validate and measure the progress of the technology, Embark plans to demonstrate autonomous driving on snowy roads by the end of winter.
“VMF is one of the main technology differentiators for Embark, designed specifically for trucks, and allowing us to operate in even the most challenging road conditions. With enhancements to our perception stack, our world-class engineering team will achieve another industry-first technology milestone using VMF,” said Alex Rodrigues, CEO of Embark. “Not only is Embark executing against its existing commercialization timeline, but we’re also going above and beyond by developing technology like this to prepare for long-term deployments and growth.”
Looking ahead, Embark plans to continue to execute on its previously-outlined commercial and technical roadmap as it prepares for large-scale commercial operations in 2024.
About Embark Trucks
Embark Trucks, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Nasdaq-listed Embark Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq: EMBK), is an autonomous vehicle company building the software powering autonomous trucks, focused on improving the safety, efficiency, and sustainability of the nearly $700 billion a year trucking market. Headquartered in San Francisco, CA since its founding in 2016, Embark is America’s longest-running self-driving truck program. The company partners with some of the largest shippers and carriers in the nation, collectively representing over 35,000 trucks and $22 billion in annual freight spend.
Embark’s mission is to realize a world where consumers pay less for the things they need, drivers stay close to the homes they cherish, and roads are safer for the people we love. To learn more about Embark, visit embarktrucks.com.
This press release includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Embark’s actual results may differ from their expectations, estimates and projections and consequently, you should not rely on these forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. Words such as “expect,” “estimate,” “project,” “budget,” “forecast,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “plan,” “may,” “will,” “could,” “should,” “believes,” “predicts,” “potential,” “continue,” and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements include, without limitation, Embark’s expectations with respect to future performance. These forward-looking statements also involve significant risks and uncertainties that could cause the actual results to differ materially from the expected results. Factors that may cause such differences include, but are not limited to: (1) ability to expand into new markets; (2) changes in the applicable laws or regulations; (3) the possibility that Embark may be adversely affected by other economic, business, and/or competitive factors; (4) the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic; and (5) other risks and uncertainties separately provided to you and indicated from time to time described in filings and potential filings by Embark with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), including those discussed in the registration statement on Form S-4 and definitive proxy statement/prospectus and other documents filed with the SEC from time to time. These filings identify and address other important risks and uncertainties that could cause actual events and results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements. Embark cautions that the foregoing list of factors is not exhaustive and not to place undue reliance upon any forward-looking statements, including projections, which speak only as of the date made. Embark undertakes no obligation to and accepts no obligation to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements to reflect any change in its expectations or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.
1 See slide 32.
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