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Embark collaborating with Cummins, ZF on powertrain and steering controls for self-driving trucks

Embark Trucks, a developer of autonomous technology for the trucking industry, is collaborating with Cummins to accelerate the integration of next-generation truck components and controls in self-driving trucks.

Under this collaboration, Embark is testing Cummins’ automated driving system (ADS) powertrain interface to manage powertrain operations. The integration of the platform-agnostic Embark Universal Interface (EUI) with Cummins’ powertrain interface will enable Embark to leverage Cummins’ ADEPT powertrain features, resulting in improved fuel efficiency and performance of the self-driving system.

The EUI is a platform-agnostic approach that enables carriers to begin trialing and deploying Embark self-driving software on trucks from the carrier’s preferred OEM. The EUI is a set of standardized self-driving components and flexible interfaces necessary to 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 US—Freightliner, Navistar International, PACCAR, and Volvo—representing the vast majority of the Class-8 trucks on the road nationwide.

Cummins will also provide engineering support including installation, operation, system specifications, and other technical information to assist Embark in its testing and validation of the powertrain interface for the EUI. In turn, Embark will share the data and results from its testing to enable Cummins to support continued development and improvement of its platform-agnostic powertrain components.

Collaboration with ZF. Embark also announced a collaboration with ZF 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 operate safely.

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.

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.

Embark is a major proponent of ZF’s ReAX approach because it creates an interface point that’s common across columns and gears. 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.

—Brandon Moak, CTO of Embark

The collaborations with Cummins and ZF come 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.


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