Strapped Self-Driving Semi Startup Selling Off Trucks, Trailers, Hopes and Dreams

You can bid on (mostly) everything needed to build your own self-driving semi truck startup.

byRob Stumpf|
Embark Trucks
via Embark
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Embark, the once-promising trucking startup that delivered on being one the first of its kind to send a (mostly) autonomous semi-truck cross-country, has thrown in the towel. After letting go of 70% of its workforce and closing two offices last month, the company was reportedly mulling over whether it would sell its assets, as well as restructure or shut down completely.

Well, it looks like Embark has decided on at least one of those options, as many assets have appeared on an auction house's website in a multipart auction that features trucks, Lidar units, GPUs, tools, and much more.

The first two lots were sold at the end of March and included mostly office-related items such as furniture, appliance, and some tools. The third auction, however, is where a lot of the meat lives.

To support the "ongoing operations of Embark Trucks," the company has tasked the auction house with offloading 25 semi trucks, including 19 Peterbilt 579s, 3 Kenworth T680s, a Volvo C800, an International semi, and a Freightliner CA126SLP.

The full list of trucks going for auction is below:

  • 2023 Peterbilt 579 (14.9-liter Cummins X15 Inline-6)
  • 2023 Peterbilt 579 (14.9-liter Cummins X15 Inline-6)
  • 2023 Peterbilt 579 (14.9-liter Cummins X15 Inline-6)
  • 2023 Peterbilt 579 (14.9-liter Cummins X15 Inline-6)
  • 2023 Peterbilt 579 (14.9-liter Cummins X15 Inline-6)
  • 2022 Peterbilt 579 (14.9-liter Cummins X15 Inline-6)
  • 2022 Peterbilt 579
  • 2022 Peterbilt 579
  • 2020 Peterbilt 579 (12.9-liter PACCAR MX-13/EMY18 Inline-6)
  • 2020 Peterbilt 579 (12.9-liter PACCAR MX-13/EMY18 Inline-6)
  • 2020 Peterbilt 579 (12.9-liter PACCAR MX-13/EMY18 Inline-6)
  • 2020 Peterbilt 579 (12.9-liter PACCAR MX-13/EMY18 Inline-6)
  • 2020 Peterbilt 579 (12.9-liter PACCAR MX-13 Inline-6)
  • 2020 Peterbilt 579 (12.9-liter PACCAR MX-13 Inline-6)
  • 2019 Peterbilt 579 (12.9-liter PACCAR MX-13/EMY17 Inline-6)
  • 2019 Peterbilt 579 (12.9-liter PACCAR MX-13 Inline-6)
  • 2018 Peterbilt 579 (12.9-liter PACCAR MX-13/EMY17 Inline-6)
  • 2017 Peterbilt 579 (12.9-liter PACCAR MX-13/EMY16 Inline-6)
  • Peterbilt 579 (14.9-liter Cummins X15 Inline-6, unknown year)
  • 2023 Kenworth T680 (14.9-liter Cummins X15 Inline-6)
  • 2023 Kenworth T680 (14.9-liter Cummins X15 Inline-6)
  • 2021 Kenworth T680 (14.9-liter Cummins X15 Inline-6)
  • 2022 Volvo C800 (14.9-liter Cummins X15 Inline-6)
  • 2021 International
  • 2019 Freightliner CA126SLP

In addition to the trucks, there are also three 53-foot trailers available for buyers to bid on.

If those trucks weren't interesting, just look at the two remaining auctions. Sure, there are some more boring office-related items included, but things get good when you notice the additional tech hidden inside.

Buyers can bid on multiple Lidar sensor units by Luminar, Velodyne, Hesai, and Ouster. There are also short-range radar units manufactured by Delphi, Continental Engineering, as well as other miscellaneous autonomy-related gear like vehicle gateways, Inertial Measurement Unit and Attitude Heading Reference Systems, and Nvidia graphic cards for processing.

Basically, with enough money and willpower, there are a lot of core pieces found in the lots that could be used to homebrew your only autonomous trucking outfit. Word of caution, though: it's clearly not that easy given the number of startups trying to achieve the same goal that have gone under so far.

Embark has been around since 2016. In its infancy, it was one of the first to take on automated trucking alongside now-defunct competitors like Anthony Levandowski's Otto and Starsky Robotics. It even launched before Waymo publicly announced the Via business unit. Embark was also a company to benefit from the SPAC merger boom, a quick way for companies to go public to earn cash from investors. Within 16 months, the company went from a $5 billion valuation to effectively "kaput"—for those with money in the market, that means losing 98.7% of its stock's value.

Last month, the company's co-founder and CEO, Alex Rodrigues, emailed employees stating that the company was "unable to identify a path forward for the business in its current form." Rodrigues spoke about the possibility of a company-wide restructuring and exploring if Embark could find a way to keep the lights on.

Ultimately, it would seem that the company is at least looking for an influx of cash to at least fund the next few months of operation, though the future of the company seems to be up in the air still. We have to admit that things don't exactly look promising with the huge sell-off already taking place. And to make matters even more uncertain, emails to Embark regarding the company's status were not immediately returned.

Other operations will continue to build past where Embark stopped. The long-haul trucking industry is notoriously predatory, and it has been running out of drivers needed to fill empty seats for some time—that's why some industry stakeholders believe lowering the age limit for truckers to 18 is a good idea. In the meantime, though, these trucks and their tech could be all that's left of Embark's seven-year run.

Got a tip or question for the author? Contact them directly: rob@thedrive.com

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