Swedish Autonomous Trucking Company Einride Expands to the U.S. Market, Sets Up New York Headquarters
【Summary】Swedish freight technology company Einride AB, which aims to transform the trucking industry with its autonomous “transport pods” for unmanned freight delivery, has announced that its autonomous vehicles are operating in the U.S. for the first time. The pods offer shipping companies an intelligent and efficient way to transport goods.
Swedish freight technology company Einride AB, which aims to transform the trucking industry with its autonomous "transport pods" for unmanned freight delivery, has announced that its autonomous vehicles are operating in the U.S. for the first time.
In conjunction with the U.S. launch, Einride has signed on technical partners Ericsson and Siemens, as well as its first customers, Bridgestone and GE Appliances.
Einride was founded in 2016 and is based in Stockholm. The company's electric and self-driving transport vehicles are called "Einride Pods." The pods are fully-electric and don't even have a cabin for drivers to sit in. The pods offer shipping companies an intelligent and efficient way to transport goods.
Einride was the first company to deploy its fully electric and autonomous transport vehicle on public roads in the world.
"The innovative spirit of the U.S. is the standard by which all others are measured, and the American transportation market is the biggest in the world," said Robert Falck, founder, and CEO of Einride. "The U.S. freight market is one of the most competitive and to be an industry leader you need to play in this league. We have the technology and solution to bring the biggest change in the freight industry since the adoption of the diesel truck 100 years ago."
Along with the U.S. launch of its autonomous transport vehicles, Einride is introducing a new range of global products, including an intelligent operating system called "Einride Saga" to support the movement of freight. With Einride Saga, shippers will be able to order and track shipments, oversee routes and visualize fleet data.
Einride also unveiled a new product line of its transport vehicles, including a U.S. version of its Einride Pod and a new Flatbed Pod. The U.S. version of the Einride Pod will have the same SAE level 4 autonomous technology as the European version, including safety architecture that allows for safe operation on public roads without a driver in the vehicle.
The company said the U.S. version of the Einride Pod is better adapted for the roads and conditions here.
The fully-electric Flatbed Pod is built using a modular design to accommodate all types of shipping needs, including transporting containers to make the seamless transition between cargo ship and road freight.
Einride's autonomous transport pods can also be remotely controlled if needed, so there's no need for a human driver onboard. The remote technology is known in the industry as "teleoperations", where the steering, acceleration, braking and other functions of an autonomous vehicle can be controlled over a 5G network.
With this setup, the remote operator can be wherever 5G connections are available, which eventually might be anywhere in the world. The remote operator can assist in situations where Einride's software might need some extra help, such as navigation through a busy distribution center crowded with other trucks.
Einride is Committed to Adding Trucking Industry Jobs with its Autonomous Pods
While some believe that autonomous trucks will eliminate jobs for humans, Einride is actually looking to add jobs with its autonomous logistics technology. The company's technology is aimed at addressing the shortage of drivers in the industry that's expected to get worse.
Einride is not looking to replace human truck drivers, rather the company is training them for new high-tech roles in the freight and logistics industry. Einride calls the new role of overseeing its autonomous pods a "Einride Pod Operator."
Einride is hiring experienced truck drivers as pod operators based on their extensive on-road experience. Since truck drivers know the ins-and-outs of operating a conventional truck, they are excellent candidates for roles monitoring Einride's fleet of autonomous pods, according to Einride.
Einride said its committed to creating at least 2,000 new jobs within the first five years of operation in the U.S.
In Feb 2020. Einride was the first company to hire the world's first remote truck operator to show how autonomous freight transport can improve the working conditions of truck drivers and create new jobs in the industry.
The remote operators will work closely with Einride's tech team to provide feedback for the development of Einride's remote driver stations to help shape the working environment of tomorrow's truckers. The remote pod operator can even monitor and control multiple Einride Pods at once in real time from a central location.
Compared to conventional trucking, remote operations will be safer, involve more regular working hours, and provide a more comfortable work environment than the grueling work of spending hours behind the wheel and often weeks away from home driving a conventional truck, according to Einride.
It is not just new roles for truck drivers, Einride's technology is expected to create new jobs across the entire supply chain, from electric infrastructure installation, maintenance to the widespread construction of 5G networks that support the autonomous fleets.
Einride first demonstrated its remote truck technology in 2019 by steering a vehicle in Barcelona, Spain from 2500 km away in Sweden, using 5G-connectivity. The demonstration took place during the 2019 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Einride predicts that the use of remote autonomous truck operators will reduce fuel and energy costs by 70%, lower transport costs by 30% and reduce operating costs by 60%. Its also expected to increase productivity by 200%, since the automated trucks can operate 24 hours per day.
Einride estimates that up to 40% of U.S. road freight transportation could switch to fully-electric transportation at around the same cost, or less than diesel-powered trucks on the road today.
As part of the Einride autonomous Pod deployment in the U.S. the company has officially established a U.S. headquarters in New York, where some of its leadership team will be based. In addition to its New York headquarters, Einride will open up regional offices in Austin, San Francisco and in the Southeast region.
Since Oct 1, 2020, Einride said its partners in Europe have seen a 90% decrease in CO2 emissions with electrical transport solutions, while matching the cost of operating conventional, yet highly polluting diesel vehicles that shippers are looking to phase out.
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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