Embark CEO sees supply chain crisis as the ‘inflection point’ for autonomous trucking

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  • Congestion at US ports, truck shortages and the rise of e-commerce have created a unique opportunity for autonomous trucking, Alex Rodrigues, CEO of Embark Trucks, told Businesshala.
  • Embark has completed its SPAC merger and will begin trading on the Nasdaq on Thursday under the ticker EMBK.
  • Rodrigues would become one of the youngest CEOs of a US public company at the age of 26.

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According to Alex Rodrigues, CEO of Embark Trucks, congestion at US ports, truck shortages and the rise of e-commerce have created a unique opportunity for autonomous trucking. has completed its SPAC merger and will begin trading on the Nasdaq on Thursday under the ticker EMBK.

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“What we’ve heard from investors is that people are really understanding the need here and there’s a lot of enthusiasm about the potential to revolutionize the way logistics work,” Rodrigues told Businesshala. “We’re really at a turning point now where it’s really starting to affect ordinary people and you know when people can’t get their Christmas presents, the need for a solution becomes much more urgent. Is.”

Embark, founded in 2016 by 20-somethings Rodrigues and Brandon Mok, focuses on software and assistive technology for autonomous trucking. Embark may convert the current truck fleet to an autonomous fleet and work with carriers and truck manufacturers rather than develop their own vehicles. According to Embark’s website, the company’s autonomous technology can improve fuel efficiency by up to 10%, reduce delivery times by up to 40%, and increase revenue per truck by 300%.

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In June, Embark announced that it would tie up with Northern Genesis Acquisition Corp II, a special purpose acquisition company, in a $5.2 billion deal.

On Thursday, Embark expects to raise about $614 million in gross cash proceeds, including a $200 million private investment from Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings, the nation’s largest trucker, venture capital firm Sequoia Capital and Tiger Global. is with. Rodrigues would become one of the youngest CEOs of a US public company at the age of 26.

Embark is the latest in a wave of autonomous trucking companies going public in 2021. TuSimple’s IPO was in april, and it is now working on a lane with UPS for autonomous package delivery. Aurora Innovations in the SPAC merger went public this month. plus is expected To complete its SPAC merger with Hennessy Capital Investment Corp V this year.

Wedbush estimates that about $750 billion will be spent on commercial autonomous vehicles over the next five years. Embark has partnered with AB InBev, Budweiser’s brewer, Werner Enterprises, big box retail stores, Ryder and a trucker for DHL and others as all industries seek to reduce supply chain spending.

“I think we’re really satisfied that the industry recognizes that we come across this as a quality partner and that we’ve been able to build partnerships with some of the best in the business,” Rodrigues said.

Walmart announced this week that it is using fully autonomous trucking to move grocery orders online through a partnership with startup Gatic.

Rodrigues believes this is another tailwind for his company and for Autonomous Logistics. “The big established players understand the urgency and need for this technology. We see that as a big positive.”

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