Depending on who you talk to in the automotive industry, truly driverless vehicles are either two years away or two decades away. The chief reasons for this wide spectrum of expected rollout boil down to driving environment and location, jurisdictional legality, technological barriers and the type of tasks that a self-driving vehicle will be performing. And, to be sure, the driving environment does play a big role when it comes to the technological capabilities of present-day autonomous systems: a driverless taxi cab that can operate on the streets of Shanghai, dodging electric bikes and pedestrians, is a taller order than a truck without passengers operating on largely empty roads. Those are arguably two ends of the spectrum, but the autonomous tech of the present day is finally ready to tackle the easy end of that spectrum.
Swedish autonomous startup Einride has launched tests of just such a thing in its home country, debuting a cabless, driverless truck designed for freight deliveries between a freight terminal and a warehouse, traveling the quarter-mile distance at low speeds. The electric truck, powered by a 200-kWh battery and with a payload of 20 tons, can travel at a speed of 53 mph, but for now, it is only permitted to drive at 3 mph between its two destinations and is used by the logistics company DB Schenker. The truck can be remotely controlled when it needs to be, using a 5G connection to a remote human driver, but it does not have a cab or a human backup — in the course of normal operation, it runs autonomously, relying on radar, lidar and cameras.
The big milestone achieved with this truck — what Einride is calling a world-first — is the fact that a part of its short route takes place on a public road, even if it’s within an industrial area. That’s what makes the Einride T-Pod one small step for truck, but a giant leap for fully autonomous vehicles.
- UPS invests in autonomous trucking company TuSimple
- AV truck startup rejects public tests
- Michigan Mulls Autonomous Vehicle Licensing
- New Gloucester’s Yolked food truck puts an egg in almost every dish
- Rx for Doctors: Stop With the Urine Tests
- Renault is testing an autonomous shared car service that can be hailed using a smartphone
- The ‘Wi-Fi Road’ of the Future
- Autonomous Cars Market To Be Driven By Rising Acceptance Of Semi-Autonomous Technologies Till 2024
- Overhead Powerlines Trial for E-Trucks in Germany
- Driverless Trucks and the Future of UK Haulage