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Autonomous truck maker and Texas DPS working on procedure for pulling over a driverless semi

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An autonomous truck technology company has partnered with law enforcement in Texas to establish how driverless trucks will interact with police and emergency vehicles.

This month, San Francisco-headquartered Embark Trucks, Inc. announced a partnership with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to “train Embark-powered trucks to identify law enforcement vehicles in situations such as traffic stops, and to develop communication protocols and standard operating procedures between autonomous trucks and law enforcement officers.”

Specifically, Embark is working on two key elements of the interaction with law enforcement. First, the company is working to “train” Embark-powered trucks to identify and pull over safety for law enforcement.

Second, the company is leaning on input from law enforcement to develop a standardized interaction procedure to allow police to ” to safely stop, approach, and receive information from an autonomous truck intuitively and without any additional equipment.”

“This effort may include outfitting Embark trucks with clear visual cues and information to signal to law enforcement personnel that an Embark-powered truck is an autonomous vehicle and has come to a safe stop with no risk of restarting unexpectedly. Embark also plans to outfit trucks with a lockbox accessible to law enforcement containing vehicle and load information such as registration and bills of lading, as well as contact information so that law enforcement officers can reach an Embark Guardian operator to verify documentation,” the company said in a news release.

“Our technical roadmap represents a measurable path to commercialization of autonomous trucks, and making sure law enforcement can safely and intuitively interact with autonomous trucks is a ‘must’ for deployment,” said Emily Warren, Head of Public Policy at Embark. “Our work with Texas DPS prioritizes safety as we achieve this key technical milestone, and enables us to create a scalable emergency vehicle interaction model that can work across Texas and the U.S. Sunbelt.”

Embark says that there are plans in the works to publicly demonstrate emergency vehicle interaction capability later in the summer.

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