Designer Einride wants 200 of its self-driving trucks on the roads by 2020
Swedish startup Einride has unveiled a driverless electric truck concept called a T-Pod.
The self-driving electric vehicle can transport 15 pallets of goods for 124 miles on a single charge. The heavy truck is 7 metres long and weighs 20 tonnes when fully loaded. It can be operated remotely, and would only drive autonomously when on freeways, Einride said.
The concept was first unveiled in Stockholm last week as part of the STHLM Tech Meetup.
In an interview with E&T, EinRide CEO Robert Falck explained:
“The system is ‘driven’ from a remote station allowing the driver to control the truck… It will revolutionise truck driving, as drivers will be able to take rest or take coffee breaks whenever they choose and won’t require the drivers to travel during business hours.”
According to Einride it is “not a company, [but] a movement.” To some degree, it is right; autonomous driving has the potential to alter the setup and economics of the freight industry dramatically. The manufacturer also sees the truck as part of an emissions-free supply chain.
However, other solutions do exist, and are already in trials. Einride will have its work cut out if it is to move this from a concept to a commercial prospect in a few short years. Moreover, at a range of 124 miles (a 60-mile round trip), its first application will be in local deliveries, rather than long-haul travel.
Apparently undaunted it says that “partners and clients” have already signed contracts for 60% of its planned capacity. It will start testing the vehicle this year and will have a fleet of 200 of the trucks operating in Sweden by 2020. The Goteborg-based company plans to launch its first route between Goteborg and Helsingborg, and initially will be able to transport over two million pallets yearly.
Still, if it proves a success, T-Pods may well become as common on the roads as their music-holding namesakes are in our pockets.