Embark demonstrates AV truck police stops

  • August 14, 2022
  • William Payne

Embark Trucks has carried out a demonstration of its autonomous trucks interacting with state emergency vehicles. The trucks are able to identify emergency situations and police traffic stops, and stop for law enforcement vehicles. The demonstration showed that autonomous trucks can be automatically pulled over by law enforcement, and can identify and stop for routine traffic stops on public highways.

Working with the Texas Department of Public Safety (“Texas DPS”) and the Travis County Sheriff’s Office (“TCSO”), Embark developed the capability to identify and stop for law enforcement vehicles in situations such as traffic stops. The company in collaboration with Texas officials built communication protocols and standard operating procedures between autonomous trucks and law enforcement officers.

The ability to respond to emergency and law enforcement vehicles and highway stops is a necessary prerequisite to autonomous trucks being adopted for commercial deployment.

The company claims it is the first autonomous truck company to have demonstrated such a capability.

To develop the capability, Embark, TCSO, and Texas DPS carried out data collection and testing from April to June that included closed-course activity at the Texas A&M University RELLIS Campus test track and public road demonstrations.

During the demonstration in late June, deputies from the TCSO’s Commercial Vehicle Enforcement division followed an Embark-powered truck along Texas State Highway 130 near Austin and successfully completed a traffic stop of the Embark truck. A deputy was able to confirm the truck was safe to approach via an external status display on the side of the truck, then walked through the procedure of accessing the truck’s documentation via an external lockbox, using a code that would be provided by a remote Embark Guardian support technician. The demonstration concluded after the deputy completed his traffic stop and followed the truck as it re-entered highway traffic.

“The ability to engage safely in emergency vehicle interactions is necessary to operate an autonomous vehicle on public roads,” said Emily Warren, Head of Public Policy at Embark Trucks. “Law enforcement always needs to be able to stop a commercial vehicle – autonomous or not – to ensure compliance with the law. This capability was designed to work seamlessly within existing law enforcement workflows, without requiring new training or technology investment by first responders.”