SAN FRANCISCO — Autonomous truck software developer Embark Trucks, Inc. has announced a partnership with Alterra Property Group, a real estate investment company focused on industrial outdoor storage properties, to identify and launch transfer point sites across the U.S. Sunbelt.
These new transfer points will increase the reach of the Embark Coverage Map and enable new autonomous trucking lanes as Embark prepares for commercial deployment of its technology in 2024, according to an Embark news release.
“Since it began the transfer point model and opened the industry’s first transfer point in 2019, Embark has developed the operational expertise and technical specifications required to launch new transfer point sites,” the news release stated.
In September 2021, Embark announced a plan to launch up to 100 transfer points across the U.S., working with Ryder to provide onsite operations, maintenance and fleet management in support of seamless coast-to-coast autonomous truck operations.
“Through this partnership with Alterra, Embark will look to access the real estate it needs to activate a nationwide transfer point network and execute against its long-term commercialization goals,” according to the news release.
Alterra specializes in industrial outdoor storage properties that can accommodate vehicle and trailer parking, and will identify, purchase and lease sites optimally sized and located for transfer points.
The company currently owns a nationwide real estate portfolio with over 100 properties located across 27 states. This portfolio will substantially expand through Alterra’s fully discretionary private equity fund that is currently investing nationally with capacity up to $1.5 billion.
Alterra plans to deploy new and existing funding to acquire dozens of AV-ready sites in major markets like Los Angeles, Dallas and Atlanta that could be utilized by Embark and its carrier partners over the next several years.
“Industrial outdoor storage as an asset class has yet to be institutionalized, making it difficult for tenants with specific and nationwide real estate needs, like Embark, to systematically access a network of suitable sites,” Leo Addimando, managing partner of Alterra Property Group, said.
“As a leader in this asset class on our way to accumulating a multi-billion dollar portfolio, we have the ability to provide Embark a strategic advantage when it comes to identifying, securing, and developing a nationwide network of autonomous-ready sites.”
“In the short term, Embark and Alterra intend to identify standardized, turn-key sites that provide Embark the ability to quickly scale up at a particular site with minimal lead time or development costs,” the news release stated.
“Over time, Embark and Alterra will investigate more creative physical and economic structures, such as allowing Embark to grow across a site over time or allowing Alterra to participate in the economic upside of onsite activity through per-use price structures.”
Sam Abidi, chief commercial officer at Embark, said that Alterra “can provide the real estate portfolio, market expertise and capital required to activate a nationwide real estate network of transfer points, enabling Embark to remain asset-light and focused on our SaaS business model. Working with Alterra should give Embark flexible access to a portfolio of AV-ready properties in Sunbelt markets where we plan to expand and marks another key step in our rollout of the Embark Coverage Map.”
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.