Embark Trucks, Inc. announced the completion of a public demonstration of its emergency vehicle interaction capability.
Working closely with the Texas Department of Public Safety (Texas DPS) and the Travis County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO), Embark developed the capability for Embark-powered trucks to identify and stop for law enforcement vehicles in situations such as traffic stops, and built communication protocols and standard operating procedures between autonomous trucks and law enforcement officers.
This represents the first public demonstration of an autonomous truck being pulled over by law enforcement and participating in a routine traffic stop on a public highway.
With the completion of this successful public demonstration, Embark has now achieved 12 technical milestones on its roadmap.
“The ability to engage safely in emergency vehicle interactions is necessary to operate an autonomous vehicle on public roads,” said Emily Warren, head of public policy at Embark Trucks. “Law enforcement always needs to be able to stop a commercial vehicle – autonomous or not – to ensure compliance with the law. This capability was designed to work seamlessly within existing law enforcement workflows, without requiring new training or technology investment by first responders.”
To develop this capability, Embark, TCSO, and Texas DPS executed comprehensive data collection and testing from April to June that included closed-course activity at the Texas A&M University Rellis Campus test track as well as public road demonstrations.
During Embark’s first demonstration, which took place in late June on Texas State Highway 130 near Austin, deputies from the TCSO’s Commercial Vehicle Enforcement division followed an Embark-powered truck along a designated route and successfully completed a traffic stop of the Embark truck.
A deputy was able to confirm the truck was safe to approach via an external status display on the side of the truck, then walked through the procedure of accessing the truck’s documentation via an external lockbox, using a code that would be provided by a remote Embark Guardian support technician. The demonstration concluded after the deputy completed his traffic stop and followed the truck as it re-entered highway traffic.