A self-driving truck has completed a coast-to-coast journey across the US, a feat its developers called the first of its kind.
Embark has been testing self-driving trucks since last year – predominantly on a route between Los Angeles and Texas – where the company’s technology controls the vehicle when on the Interstate, but with a driver taking over on smaller roads.
Now, in a move to emphasise the capability of its technology, Embark’s truck has completed a journey between Jacksonville in Florida and Los Angeles – a 2,400 mile route that was completed over five days.
Speaking to Transport Topics, Embark said the truck handled the majority of the driving but there was a driver behind the wheel at all times ready to take over if needed.
As a result, rest breaks were a legal requirement – which is why the journey took five days. Embark says in the future a truly autonomous truck – without a driver – could complete the journey in two days by operating around the clock.
For the coast-to-coast journey, Embark’s truck was empty but the company has already been transporting real cargo for refrigerator firm Frigidaire.
The company now hopes to expand its fleet and routes, as well as work with regulators, as it moves towards a full rollout of its technology.
Driverless car technology is currently being developed by a host of companies globally – including Google’s Waymo, who are testing on roads in the US. But the likes of Uber, Ford and several other car giants are also exploring the technology in some form.