Video: New Self-Driving Semi

February 24, 2017

Embark has released a video of its self-driving truck that shows how its technology can address driver fatigue and distraction on long haul trips.

Embark’s truck uses a combination of radars, cameras and depth sensors known as LiDARs to perceive the world around it. The millions of data points from these sensors are processed using a form of Artificial Intelligence known as Deep Neural Nets (or DNNs) that allow the truck to learn from its own experience — much like humans learn from practice and error.

The company’s technology is able to handle potential obstacles like a slow car occupying the lane ahead and how to pass on undivided highways. Alex Rodrigues, CEO and co-founder of Embark, says, “We’ve programmed them with a set of rules to help safely navigate most situations, how to safely learn from the unexpected, and how to apply that experience to new situations going forward.”

Embark says its truck is built specifically to handle long, simple stretches of freeway driving between cities, rather than all aspects of driving. At the city limit, Embark's computerized truck hands off to a human driver who navigates the city streets to the destination. A human driver will still touch every load, but with Embark they’re able to move more loads per day, handing off hundreds of miles of freeway driving to their robot partners.

The company has been testing its self-driving system on a 2017 Peterbilt truck on Nevada roads.