Knight-Swift Transportation
On Road 3

Knight-Swift begins integrating Embark autonomous truck technology into operations

Dec. 19, 2022
The self-driving technology company said its Truck Transfer Program is the first time a fleet will own an Embark-powered truck within its operations. The program allows the carrier and AV company to gain real-world insights into how the technology works.

Autonomous technology company Embark Trucks and Knight-Swift Transportation have initiated the first handover of an Embark-powered truck to the mega fleet as part of its Truck Transfer Program.

Embark said the transfer program is the first public initiative where a carrier directly owns and operates a truck equipped with select features of Embark’s automated driving software. In addition, the program allows Embark to gain insight from having its system components work within a fleet’s duty cycle. 

See also: Fleets begin to get a feel for the future of moving freight

“I am excited to take delivery, so our drivers and customers can provide direct feedback on the technology as we use it in day-to-day operations to enable new safety and efficiency in trucking,” Knight-Swift CEO Dave Jackson said.

Knight-Swift (No. 4 on the FleetOwner 500: For-Hire list) will place its drivers behind the wheel of an Embark-powered truck, allowing Knight-Swift to collect data regarding system safety and operational performance, according to the companies. 

The first Embark-powered truck will begin integrating into Knight-Swift’s daily operations to move loads for large shippers between Los Angeles and Phoenix.

To meet the uptime requirements of a commercial fleet, Embark has focused on solidifying its Embark Universal Interface and Embark Driver software. This system hardening includes improvements in calibration and maintainability, enabling quick troubleshooting so trucks can get back on the road. 

Embark and Knight-Swift are working together on several operational initiatives to prepare for the handoff of Embark-powered trucks into Knight-Swift’s daily operations, according to a Dec. 19 announcement. These initiatives include developing maintenance procedures for AV systems, pre- & post-trip inspections, training and certifying Knight-Swift drivers, and escalation policies for maintenance issues. Embark is also training Knight-Swift technicians to service and interact with the robotic trucks. 

While on the road, Embark-powered trucks will be monitored and supported by Embark Guardian, a combination of cloud-based fleet management software and personnel, which will monitor the health of the Embark system while enhancing safety on the road.

This outside perspective and collaboration with Knight-Swift drivers bring insights to Embark’s system as the company continues to develop its commercialization effort and go-to-market strategy, according to the company announcement.

“Handing over the first Embark-powered truck to the Knight-Swift team tops off a year in which Embark has made critical strides to close the gap between testing our autonomous technology and scaling it across customer fleets,” Embark CEO Alex Rodrigues said. “The Truck Transfer Program will be a model for the industry as we move from the R&D and pilot phase toward commercialization.”

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FleetOwner Staff

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