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22 09 2017 03

Autonomous trucking is an area where a growing number of companies are competing for talent and funding, but newcomer Embark is on a bit of a hot streak when it comes to funding, talent acquisition, product development and more.

Founded in 2016 by CEO Alex Rodrigues and CTO Brandon Moak, the startup is still very young. Rodrigues and Moak have been working on autonomous driving technology for a long time, however – they worked on self-driving while at school together at the University of Waterloo, where both completed Mechatronics engineering degrees. A roadside accident was what prompted their focus on trucking specifically, however.

“The critical moment was we were heading out to one of our demos, and we got stuck on the side of the road – it blew a tire,” Rodrigues explained in an interview. “We got stuck two-and-a-half hours south of here and had to hang out for five hours waiting for a tow truck. And that’s where I really saw the trucking industry. I started counting, every five seconds you had a truck go past, they all say ‘Driver wanted.'”

Embark has since raised $17.22 million across three rounds of funding, from investors including Data Collective (its largest investor), SV Angel, Y Combinator and Maven Ventures. The team is growing quickly, with plans to ramp up from just 17 to 60 employees soon, and the autonomous trucking startup is also in the process of renovating its new space, a large warehouse that once held San Francisco Giants merchandise, but that will now play host to a fleet of up to five or six development trucks equipped with Embark’s self-driving technology.

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Tags: Mobility

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