Embark, a startup developing self-driving truck technology (earlier post), is partnering with Frigidaire and Ryder System to pilot a series of automated driving technology tests.
During the pilot, Frigidaire refrigerators were successfully transported 650 miles at a time, in semi-trucks using automated driving technology.
Begun in October, the pilot has involved several hauls of appliances through four states using Embark automated tractors on the highway segments and Ryder tractors and drivers on surface streets. The pilot focused on highway driving, which is more structured, allows for faster commercialization, and also solves a critical challenge for the freight industry.
Trucking is facing a workforce problem. More than 50 percent of all drivers will retire in the next two decades and there aren’t nearly enough young drivers joining the industry to replace them. By allowing automation to work together with local drivers to handle less desirable long haul routes, we will be able to increase productivity to address the current 50,000 driver shortage while also creating new local driving jobs that attract younger drivers for the industry.
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