Self-Driving Startup Embark Partners with Peterbilt
Another name in the self-driving truck market has just gained a new ally, who will help provide insight and resources as the company looks to lead the way with autonomous vehicles.
Embark recently announced that they have raised $15 million in Series A financing. The company made headlines earlier this year when they announced their intention to use neural net-based machine learning technologies in their approach to autonomous trucking.
While autonomy relies heavily on sensor technology, such as that popularized by companies like Otto, machine learning and A.I. will play a big role in helping vehicles adjust to navigational challenges. It will also help them handle more safely on the roads, and minimize the amount of human oversight required from drivers and engineers.
Data Collective is leading the funding. Organizations like YC Continuity, SV Angel, and Maven Ventures are also participating. Embark is gearing up for a large commercial launch, and in order to succeed they need both equipment and qualified talent. The funding will help them hire skilled engineers and acquire equipment like trucks and self-driving technology.
After this round of investments, Embark’s valuation has raised to around $75 million. The original prototype for Embark’s line was built on a Peterbilt 579 truck, and they will be building the trucks for Embark’s new line. Peterbilt will build the new test trucks at their own facility in Denton, Texas.
Managing partners had spoken favorably about the approach, saying that it would produce top-notch results while using existing capital efficiently. It was also noted that Embark’s machine-learning approach meant there would be less of a need to map out all U.S. roads to help the vehicles run efficiently.
Embark has also spoken about using driverless trucks on the freeway, and having an onboard driver take the wheel on city streets. Doing so would help improve safety and ease the minds of skeptical members of the public. Driverless trucks, if implemented strategically, can be a safe and effective investment. Embark is proving that machine learning will play a big role in the future of autonomy.
The company has also promised that their line will be affordable enough that truckers can purchase a driverless vehicle, using at as a “virtual employee” while they continue to work.