Self-driving truck company looks to fix supply chain issues for the long haul

As supply chain disruptions signal they’re potentially getting worse and 80,000 truck driving positions remain open across the U.S., one software company is driving closer to a solution for the transportation problem.

Embark Trucks, an autonomous vehicle company powering self-driving semi-trucks, successfully completed initial winter conditions tests and recently secured a partnership with carrier company U.S. Xpress by adding an Embark fleet to their network.

“The reason that this is so exciting is that we can partner with drivers and allow a single driver to operate in the city, and then you have a driverless truck that goes between those cities and that dramatically improves efficiency,” Embark co-founder and CEO Alex Rodrigues told FOX Business’ Ashley Webster Friday.

“You can see a driver of this truck with more than double the utilization of what you can get under the federal hours of service with a person behind the wheel,” he continued on “Varney & Co.

According to the CEO, Embark received “great results” from weather condition testing that’s “famously hard.”

“Embark has a unique alternative to maps that we call ‘vision map fusion,'” Rodrigues explained, “and it worked very well in the vast majority of the winter conditions that you would expect in the northern United States.”

Rodrigues expressed optimism that navigating weather challenges while also addressing a truck driver shortage will help alleviate national supply chain pressures.

“I think that’s obviously a huge opportunity to improve and hopefully fix for the long term some of the supply chain problems,” the noted.

Currently, Embark is required to have someone monitoring the truck while it’s self-driving on public roads. But with a fleet already delivering packages, Rodrigues said “we’re on our way” to driverless semi-trucks hitting the highway.

“The partners that we’re working with and everything that we’re doing is really focused on the near term, having the trucks operating when it’s on the highway without anybody in it,” the CEO pointed out. “So that’s really where we’re headed, and I think that’s where it gets really exciting.”