Automated Truck Completes Coast-to-Coast Journey

Tech start-up Embark recently sent a self-driving truck on a southern coast-to-coast journey from Los Angeles to Jacksonville, FL.

The automation software on the truck did most of the highway driving, but a driver was behind the wheel at all the times ready to take over if needed. This is considered Level 2 automation (as originally determined by the SAE), but is an important step towards Level 4 automation, where the truck will drive a specific highway route with no driver.

After all, all new technologies need testing, and one like this… it’s okay that it needs a monitor at this time. But it’s a stepping stone.

This particular journey took the regular five days to complete because they still operated under hours-of-service safety limits for the human monitor. However, once they reach true autonomy, the journey is expected to take two days, changing the dynamics of freight.

This particular run used an empty trailer, but the company is already hauling freight for Frigidaire on an automated route between LA and El Paso. The company says it’s important to test with actual freight because it helps them test actual scenarios, including timing and pickup/drop-off situations.

You can read more about this test at Transport Topic News.