Time to Embark: Autonomous Trucking Startup Develops Universal Platform on NVIDIA DRIVE

San Francisco-based Embark is working with major trucking brands and shipping companies to bring safer, more efficient delivery and logistics to public roads.
by Katie Burke

Autonomous trucking startup Embark is planning for universal autonomy of commercial semi-trucks, developing one AI platform that fits all.

The company announced today that it will use NVIDIA DRIVE to develop its Embark Universal Interface (EUI), a manufacturer-agnostic platform that includes the compute and multimodal sensors necessary for autonomous trucks. This flexible approach, combined with the high performance of NVIDIA DRIVE, leads to an easily scalable solution for safer, more efficient delivery and logistics.

The EUI is purpose-built to run Embark Driver autonomous driving software for a comprehensive self-driving trucking system.

Most trucking carriers don’t just use one model of vehicle in their fleets. This variety can even extend to vehicles from different manufacturers to haul a wide range of cargo around the world.

The Embark platform will be capable of integrating into trucks from any of the four major truck manufacturers in the U.S. — PACCAR, Volvo, International and Freightliner. By developing a platform that can be retrofitted to such a wide range of vehicles, Embark is helping the trucking industry realize the benefits of AI-powered driving without having to wait for purpose-built vehicles.

And with NVIDIA DRIVE at its core, the platform leverages the best in high-performance AI compute for robust self-driving capabilities.

Scaling Safety

Autonomous vehicles are always learning, taking in vast amounts of data to navigate the unpredictability of the real world, from highways to crowded ports. This rapid processing requires centralized, high-performance AI compute.

The NVIDIA DRIVE platform is the first scalable AI hardware and software platform to enable the production of automated and self-driving vehicles. It combines deep learning, sensor fusion and surround vision for a safe driving experience.

This end-to-end open platform allows for one development investment across an entire fleet, from level 2+ systems all the way to level 5 fully autonomous vehicles. In addition to high-performance, scalable compute, the EUI will have all the necessary functional safety certification to operate without a driver on public roads.

“We need an enormous amount of compute horsepower in our trucks,” said Ajith Dasari, head of Hardware Platform at Embark. “NVIDIA DRIVE meets this need head-on, and allows us to outfit our partners and customers with the best self-driving hardware and software currently on the market.”

A Growing Ecosystem

Embark is already working with leading trucking companies and plans to continue to extend its software and hardware technology.

In April, the company unveiled partnerships with Werner Enterprises, Mesilla Valley Transportation and Bison Transport. It’s also working with shippers including Anheuser Busch InBev and HP, Inc.

Embark plans to list on the public market, announcing a SPAC, or special purpose acquisition company, agreement in June, as well as a partnership with Knight-Swift Transportation. The autonomous trucking company will join the ranks of NVIDIA DRIVE ecosystem members who have collectively raised more than $8 billion via public listings.

And just like the trucks running on its Embark Universal Interface, the company is tapping the power of NVIDIA DRIVE to keep traveling further and more intelligently.