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Swedish Firm Einride Reveals Multi-stage, Driverless Trucks with Superior Range

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【Summary】By using human navigators at the critical stage of deliveries (also known as the “last mile”), the business would not need to spend as much time and money on testing in urban, populated locations.

Michael Cheng    Apr 18, 2017 6:37 AM PT
Swedish Firm Einride Reveals Multi-stage, Driverless Trucks with Superior Range

In Sweden, the race to disrupt the commercial trucking sector with autonomous technology is heating up at a rapid pace. Most of the leaders are large manufacturers of heavy-duty trucks, such as Scania Group. However, this doesn't mean that there isn't room for new players to enter the industry.

A company that recently jumped into the scene is Swedish firm Einride. With help from Christer Fuglesang, a local astronaut, the business launched the T-pod: a driverless, remote-controlled truck with long range capabilities. Einride is not like other startups struggling to make ends meet in an industry that has not fully come to fruition. The company is mostly self-funded and has acquired some private financing on the side to fuel its self-driving ambitions.

Overall, the establishment seems to be on the right track to leading the development of autonomous trucks in the European region. But does it have what it takes to compete with other, well-established automakers and manufacturers in the area? Find out below!

T-pod Specs

Einride is relying on the launch of T-pod to catapult its status in the commercial trucking sector. The vessel measures roughly 23 feet, with enough room to carry 15 standard pallets (up to 20 tons). In addition to being driverless, the unit is powered by an electric engine. The trucks are capable of traveling up to 125 miles on a single charge. The group is currently fixated on releasing the vehicle by 2020, on a commercial route that runs through Gothenburg and Helsingborg.

To clarify, the T-pod will be fully autonomous (SAE-L5) during its initial release. However, this mode will only be useable along highways. From a technical standpoint, this makes a lot of sense. Highway driving is more predictable and requires less intervention than city driving, where distractions and obstacles are present in the form of pedestrians, small cars, detours and intersections.

Human Intervention Mode

When the T-pod leaves the highway and enters populated locations, it will push control to a human navigator. During the final stage of deployment, the operator will control the truck remotely to its destination. In the US, human intervention is viewed as the "last resort" for developers, as most want to maximize their autonomous features as much as possible. But Einride's plans to roll out multi-stage, driverless features could help fast track the development of its self-driving trucks.

By using human navigators at the critical stage of deliveries (also known as the "last mile"), the business would not need to spend as much time and money on testing in urban, populated locations. Over time, the company could refine its autonomous platform and get rid of human navigators after the initial release of its electric, driverless trucks.

"Einride is transforming the existing transport chain from the ground up. The big companies behind long haul trucks keep building bigger trucks to increase efficiency, which ultimately means even more emissions," said Filip Lilja, COO at Einride.

"We are changing that by creating a secure solution that is, not only cost effective, but dramatically minimizes the negative environmental impact of the transportation industry." 

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