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Embark And ZF Collaborate To Validate Automatic Steering Control In Self-Driving Trucks

Companies will test prototypes, share data, and exchange technical information as Embark furthers its OEM-agnostic approach.

Embark Trucks Inc., a leading developer of autonomous technology for the trucking industry, and ZF, a top global Tier-1 supplier announced a collaboration to test, validate, and integrate ZF’s ReAX adaptive steering technology to ensure compatibility with the Embark Universal Interface (EUI). This collaboration will enable the validation of the ReAX steering system and core algorithm, ultimately leading to a safer and more performant autonomous technology stack. Both companies pursue an OEM-agnostic approach with the trucking industry, cooperating with both OEM and fleet customers and providing them with the technology to safely operate.

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With the EUI, Embark enables carriers to begin trials and deployment of Embark self-driving software on trucks from the carriers’ preferred OEM. The EUI is a set of standardized self-driving modules and the flexible interfaces necessary to more easily and robustly integrate Embark’s autonomous technology onto truck OEM vehicle platforms. The EUI is currently in development for trucks from the four major OEMs in the U.S. – Freightliner, Navistar International, PACCAR, and Volvo – representing the vast majority of the Class-8 trucks on the road nationwide.

Embark has tested ZF technology for four years and this collaboration will take the relationship to the next level. ZF will provide access to the prototype ReAX steering solution and engineering support to Embark, including installation and operation of the system. In turn, Embark will integrate and test ReAX with the EUI, and will relay data and results to ZF in order to promote continued development and improvement of a self-driving system that is compatible across OEM platforms.

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“As the autonomous trucking sector grows, it’s incumbent upon Tier-1 suppliers like ZF to outfit technology companies and OEMs with next-generation solutions,” said Julien Plenchette, vice president, Americas, Commercial Vehicle Solutions Division, ZF Group. “Our collaboration with Embark provides additional data for critical testing and validation of the ReAX steering solution and will ensure that Embark’s autonomous trucks are equipped with best-in-class steering innovations as the company pursues its commercialization effort.”

Automated vehicles (L4+) require some level of subsystem redundancy to allow for continued operation in a faulted state. For example, under conditions such as loss of communication or ignition, ZF ReAX steering system can be enabled to support fail operations.

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“Embark is a major proponent of ZF’s ReAX approach because it creates an interface point that’s common across columns and gears,” said Brandon Moak, CTO of Embark. “It’s important to get all the industry players – including Tier-1 suppliers – on board to create a robust self-driving platform, as well as an end-to-end support and maintenance ecosystem for self-driving trucks.”

This joint effort with ZF comes on the heels of continued technical and business progress at Embark. In the last two months, Embark unveiled a collaboration with NVIDIA to power the EUI with the NVIDIA DRIVE platform, launched an electric truck drayage pilot in Los Angeles with HP and BYD, and partnered with Ryder to build out a nationwide transfer point network. In June 2021, Embark unveiled its go-to-market strategy and entered into a definitive business combination agreement with Northern Genesis Acquisition Corp. II (NYSE: NGAB) (“Northern Genesis 2”). Upon closing of the proposed business combination in the second half of 2021, subject to a vote by the shareholders of Northern Genesis Acquisition Corp. II, Embark will become a publicly traded company and will list on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol “EMBK.”

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