This cabless autonomous truck is set to operate on public roads
Swedish freight technology company Einride has announced that it has received approval from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to operate its Autonomous Electric Transport (AET) vehicles on U.S. public roads.
The approval from the NHTSA marks the first time a purpose-built autonomous electric truck without a driver on board receives public road permission, as the Einride Pod doesn’t have a cab.
A number of autonomous trucks have already rolled along public roads in U.S. pilots, with these test vehicles having either a safety driver in the cab to take over should issues arise or have been accompanied by a mobile support team.
With this approval, Einride will conduct a public road pilot to support operational flows for customer G.E. Appliances, a Haier company, showcasing the Einride Pod’s purpose-built functionality for future commercialization. The autonomous and electric Einride Pod’s design does not leave room for a driver on board and is instead remotely monitored by a Remote Pod Operator, marking this pilot as an industry first for this new type of vehicle.
For the upcoming phase, the Einride Pod will operate on public roads with mixed traffic while executing real-life workflows. During the initial two-week pilot, the pod will carry cargo and coordinate with teams at the warehouses for loading and unloading. A Remote Pod Operator will be remotely monitoring the vehicle at all times – a first-of-its-kind role that Einride sees as critical in safely scaling autonomous vehicles by keeping humans in the loop and creating jobs to fulfill a future way of shipping.
“This is a type of vehicle that has never before been seen on U.S. roads and marks a major milestone as a turning point for the future of the freight industry,” said Robert Falck, CEO, and founder of Einride. “We know the autonomous and electric technology of our pod will not only revolutionize transportation but also create thousands of jobs and help America stay competitive.”
The public road pilot, which will take place in Q3 of 2022, will be done at a G.E. Appliances manufacturing facility to complement other existing operations already in place together. Einride was the first to have a fleet of operational autonomous and electric vehicles on U.S. soil in partnership with GEA in 2021.
“We are creating a more sustainable and efficient supply chain through increased electrification and automation in our manufacturing and distribution operations,” said Bill Good, Vice President of Supply Chain for G.E. Appliances. “We’ve appreciated working with Einride in demonstrating how their Pod technology can help us accelerate the achievement of that goal.”
This advancement is really exciting as freight trucks’ share in CO2 emissions is immense, and autonomous vehicles always excite us.