Embark, HP launch autonomous, electric drayage pilot

Embark, HP launch autonomous, electric drayage pilot
Embark Trucks Inc., HP Inc. and BYD Motors are working together to combine the use of electric and autonomous trucks in a pilot drayage program. The first- and last-mile segments of a haul are transported using BYD electric trucks, while a tractor equipped with the Embark Driver is used for the “middle mile” of the journey. (Courtesy: Embark Trucks Inc.)

SAN FRANCISCO — Embark Trucks Inc. has launched a joint initiative with HP Inc. to combine electric and autonomous truck technology through a truck drayage pilot in the Los Angeles area.

Through the partnership, local loads are hauled to and from Embark’s highway-adjacent transfer points using BYD 8TT electric trucks operated by human drivers. The longer, middle segment of each trip is completed autonomously using trucks equipped with the Embark Driver software.

“We’re combining the best of both worlds with this partnership, pairing the middle-mile strengths of autonomous trucks with the sustainability benefits of electric trucks in urban road settings,” said Alex Rodrigues, CEO of Embark. “Autonomous and electric trucks represent a powerful tool for companies like HP to help the trucking industry reduce harmful diesel emissions while continuing to deliver goods to the businesses and consumers who need them.”

The EV drayage pilot gives HP the ability to leverage electric trucks, which currently have a driving range best suited for drayage operations, within its supply chain. According to a statement from Embark, this practice seamlessly complements the efficiencies provided by Embark-equipped autonomous trucks, which are 10% more fuel efficient than human-operated trucks. Adopting both long-haul autonomous trucks and EV drayage enables HP to remove up to 50,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other pollutants from its distribution network over the next 10 years, according to preliminary research conducted by Embark.

“HP’s goal is to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions across our value chain by 2040,” said Jessica Kipp, Global Head of WW Logistics, HP. “We’re driving innovative solutions with the support of partners like Embark and BYD to reduce the environmental impact of traditional trucks within our supply chain while increasing speed and efficiency for customers.”

According to a statement released by Embark, the greater Los Angeles area is a leading emitter of greenhouse gases and is especially affected by harmful diesel emissions. In addition, Embark noted that heavy-duty vehicles, such as trucks, contribute 32% of mobile source nitrogen oxide emissions that react in the atmosphere to form ozone and particulate matter.

“BYD is excited to be part of this creative solution to decrease emissions from freight movement that pollute the air and harm vulnerable communities,” said Vincent Pellecchia, strategic account manager for BYD Motors. “By working with Embark, we’re giving storied companies like HP the tools they need to create sustainable supply chains end-to-end.”

Embark’s transfer point model features short first- and last-mile legs in urban environments that are ideal for the use of BYD’s electric trucks, while the longer-haul middle-mile trips can be made using Embark Driver-equipped tractors.

“We’re excited to see innovative companies like HP, Embark and BYD step up to help the State of California meet its ambitious emission reduction goals,” said Assembly Majority Leader Eloise Gomez Reyes. “With zero-emissions short-haul and autonomous long-haul trucks working in tandem, we’re improving air quality in California’s disadvantaged communities and addressing the climate crisis head-on.”

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