Autonomous truck firm Embark joins Arizona DOT to improve work zone safety

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Trucking news and briefs for Thursday, March 25, 2021:

Self-driving truck maker partners with Arizona DOT to boost work zone safety
Autonomous trucking firm Embark is collaborating with the Arizona Department of Transportation to promote the safe interaction between automated commercial vehicles and highway work zones in the state.

Through the partnership, automatic driving systems developer Embark and ADOT intend to work together to share data that will support the safe navigation of highway work zones by autonomous trucks.

Using collected data, Embark will provide Arizona with feedback on mutually-defined areas of interest, such as infrastructure health, road design and quality of publicly available work zone data. Embark will also provide technical briefings to Arizona officials to contribute to awareness of rapidly developing AV technology.

ADOT, in turn, will share open-source data on work zones that can contribute to safe navigation. Both Embark and ADOT may seek to share with other public sector stakeholders any relevant findings that would facilitate the safe deployment of autonomous vehicles.

Work zone safety and keeping highway crews safe are critical aspects of ADOT's overall safety goals. 123,000 work zone related crashes occurred nationally in 2018, resulting in 757 preventable fatalities. 30 percent of work zone fatal crashes and 10 percent of work zone injury crashes involved at least one large truck. In Arizona, there were 971 work zone crashes and 17 preventable fatalities in 2018.

Embark is pursuing a middle mile approach to automated trucking, operating only on limited access highways and short off-highway segments to distribution centers. The company’s truck uses a sensors-first architecture that is less reliant on static maps in order to detect and react to lane closures and other dynamic changes in the road environment in a manner similar to a human driver. Embark says its truck can safely react to lane closures as they appear on the road, including ones it has never seen before.

Pride Group Enterprises places order for 100 electric trucks
All-electric medium- and heavy-duty urban truck manufacturer Lion Electric has received a purchase order from Pride Group Enterprises for 100 all-electric Lion6 and Lion8 trucks, which is Lion’s largest single order of zero-emission trucks to date.

The Mississauga, Ontario, Canada-based Pride will be integrating the electric trucks into its existing logistics, full maintenance, leasing, rental and equipment retail operations throughout the U.S. and Canada, as well as deploying them with a selection of its fleet management clients. The majority of the trucks are expected to be delivered to Pride during 2021, with the remainder of deliveries expected to take place in 2022. 

In addition to supplying the vehicles, Lion will also install adequate charging infrastructure as well as integrate advanced telematics services into its operations. The Lion6 and Lion8 trucks have ranges of 180 and 165 miles, respectively, and will be used for regional shipping operations. 

“This order from Pride serves as not only a significant step in Lion’s growth, but also as a milestone in the adoption and deployment of heavy-duty electric vehicles – further proof that zero-emission freight is here, now,” said Marc Bedard, CEO and founder of Lion. “We hope this initial deployment of all-electric trucks marks the beginning of a larger ongoing partnership with Pride, and we will be working with their team to ensure that infrastructure and electric vehicle fleet management capabilities are built in tandem to optimize their electric operations.”