Another Self-Driving Semi-Truck Company Bites the Dust

Photo:  Embark
Photo: Embark

Embark Technology, a California company that sought to put autonomous semi-trucks on the road and test in Texas, is apparently no more, according to an email from Embark’s CEO to employees seen by Automotive News. In the email, Alex Rodrigues, the CEO, says he is “profoundly sorry.”

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Embark was founded in 2016, according to its website, and will follow another self-driving company — Argo AI —in closing, after Argo shut down operations last October.

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Rodrigues’s email sounds pretty defeated:

Rodrigues cited an inability to raise capital and delays in “the prospect of scaled commercial deployment” of autonomous trucking for the closure.

“I am writing to you today with a heavy heart. The last nine months have been tough for the autonomous trucking industry, and for Embark — the capital markets have turned their backs on pre-revenue companies,” Rodrigues said.

“In challenging times, it is the whole company’s job to be flexible and optimistic in pursuing a sometimes-changing direction — and it is the job of the CEO to navigate the challenges and make sure those directions ultimately get the team to the other side. You held up your end of that bargain, I was not able to hold up mine — for that I am profoundly sorry,” he wrote.

According to documents filed with the SEC on Friday, Embark will be reducing its workforce by 230 employees, though Auto News says they will still get paid until June 2, and still have healthcare until the end of August. That SEC document also says the following:

On March 1, 2023, the Board of Directors of the Company (the “Board”) approved a process to explore, review and evaluate a range of potential strategic alternatives available to the Company, including, without limitation, exploring alternative uses of the Company’s assets to commercialize its technology, additional sources of financing, as well as potential dissolution or winding up of the Company and liquidation of its assets.

Still, Auto News says that the remaining employees at Embark will spend their time winding down the business and liquidating.

Embark’s stock was trading at $3.88 on Friday, giving it a valuation of just over $90 million, a far fall from even a couple years ago, when it was trading for over 50 times that.

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