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Electric Truck Developer Einride Unveils its Next-Gen Autonomous Freight Vehicles

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【Summary】​Swedish transportation company Einride AB is launching its new range of compact, Autonomous Electric Transport (AET) vehicles, the company announced on Thursday. The vehicles are the next generation of Einride’s electric and self-driving cargo vehicles it calls “Pods.” Einride’s new AETs are electric transport vehicles that can be remotely controlled by a human.

FutureCar Staff    Oct 08, 2020 2:30 PM PT
Electric Truck Developer Einride Unveils its Next-Gen Autonomous Freight Vehicles
Einride's Autonomous Electric Transport (AET) vehicles are designed to operate without a driver onboard.

Swedish transportation company Einride AB is launching its new range of compact, Autonomous Electric Transport (AET) vehicles, the company announced on Thursday. The vehicles are the next generation of Einride's electric and self-driving cargo vehicles it calls "Pods", which resembles a truck without a cab for a driver. 

Einride's Pods are essentially electric transport vehicles that can be remotely controlled by human operators. The AET's are not designed to have humans onboard, nor are they required. A single remote operator can monitor the operation of multiple Pods at once. The "Pods" offer shipping companies an intelligent and efficient way to transport goods. 

By eliminating diesel with electricity and emitting no greenhouse gases or toxic nitrogen oxides, the AET's are an environmentally friendly alternative to highly polluting diesel powered trucks. 

The new series of four Autonomous Electric Transport (AET) vehicles range from the AET 1 to AET 4 models. Each is uniquely designed and developed for SAE level 4 self-driving and will enable businesses to reduce transport costs by up to 60% and CO2 emissions by 90%, the company said.

Enride's smaller AET 1 and 2 vehicles are suitable for closed fenced facilities or low speed public roads. The larger AET 3 and 4 will be available in 2023. Both larger AET's can travel at higher speeds and are well suited to long-distance highways and use in large distribution centers.

Customers can manage their autonomous fleets with Einride's freight mobility platform, which is a complete eco-system that improves efficiency and operation.

The remote technology employed by Einride is known in the industry as "teleoperations", where the steering, acceleration, braking and other functions of a autonomous vehicle can be controlled or monitored over a cellular network, so the remote operator can supervise the vehicles wherever there is a strong connection available, which will eventually might be anywhere in the world.

Einride says the AET's unique architecture and intelligent routing software allows for the safe operation without a driver, with additional proprietary remote operations technology to enable scaling of operators per vehicle. 

"We can already see a strong traction from the market to start using autonomous and electric transport. The benefits are clear and we want to be the player in the market that can help our customers to make the transition to a better future of transport happen," said Einride founder, Robert Falck.

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The Pods are equipped with the typical suite of hardware found on self-driving cars, including cameras, lidars and radars. Each Pod has a 360-degree awareness of its surroundings, removing the need for a driver and resulting in no blind spots for enhanced safety.

With this technology, the Pods can operate independently, do not require platooning and are able to autonomously navigate and connect to charging stations along the route.

In May 2019, Swedish transport authorities issued Einride a public road permit to deploy its AETs. The permit allows the company Pods to travel from a warehouse to a freight terminal. The short route includes roads within an industrial hub in Jonkoping, Sweden. 

Although more than one of Einride's AETs can be controlled by a single operator remotely, Swedish regulators required last year that a remote operator could only oversee a single autonomous truck per trip.

Einride predicts that by implementing the use of AETs with remote operators, shippers can increase productivity by 200%, since the automated Pods can operate 24 hours per day, without the hourly limits a human driver must adhere to each day.

Einride also believes remotely supervised AETs will create an entirely new job category for the industry, instead of just replacing human drivers with autonomous trucks.

In February, the company announced it was hiring the first "remote autonomous truck operator" in the freight mobility space. The remote operators will monitor Einride's Autonomous Electric Pods. Einride plans to hire a lot more in the future, including in the U.S. 

In addition to closely monitoring the operation of Einride's self-driving AETs, the remote operators will provide valuable feedback to the company's engineering team, so they can refine and improve the AET technology for a widespread commercial launch throughout the freight industry.


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