Einride will operate its self-contained cabless pods on U.S. public roads

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Einride, a Swedish startup that wants to electrify the autonomous trucking industry, will start operating its purpose-built unmanned pods on US public roads this year as part of a project. existing partnership with General Electric Appliances (GEA).

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The Einride pods are built without a front safety operator cab, which the company says requires National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) approval to operate on public roads.

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“Other companies are upgrading existing trucks to become autonomous, but we are doing the opposite.” Robert Falk, CEO and founder of Einride, told TechCrunch. “We’re building an entirely new way of autonomous delivery from the ground up, resulting in this new type of vehicle design and functionality.”

While there are a number of autonomous trucking companies in the US today, they are all currently based on existing trucks, and almost none of them are electric.

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Einride says the milestone marks the first time a purpose-built, autonomous electric truck has received road approval, but it’s reminiscent of an autonomous vehicle company. Nuro’s 2020 request for a temporary exemption from some of the standard low-speed vehicle requirements. Cars Nuro, which deliver food and groceries on public roads, are also built without a place for the driver and passengers. Therefore, the company needed NHTSA approval to use a new type of vehicle that does not have certain human-centric features such as mirrors or a windshield. Supposedly, Einride’s endorsement is similar in nature, but the company hasn’t confirmed this to TechCrunch. The NHTSA was also unable to confirm this to TechCrunch despite numerous attempts to contact it.

Einride said the approval is contingent on the company sticking to the set location and time — the Einride module will operate on a mile-long, mixed-traffic stretch of road between the GEA plant and a warehouse in Selmer, Tennessee, starting at 3. quarter of 2022. Einride has been testing its modules with GEA since November 2021 at the company’s fenced-in warehouse in Louisville, during which time Einride has been testing the metal of its technology in an enclosed space with pre-defined routes and a controlled environment.

“This new pilot project will put us on public roads for the first time in the US, allowing for short hauls on routes that use public roads as well as fenced areas,” Falk said, noting that the pod will operate between a fenced warehouse and public transportation. . roads. “What we are building with these various pilots is a clear business case for how our Einride Pods can support commercialization for customers in a variety of environments.”

During the initial two-week pilot project, the module will transport cargo and coordinate with teams in warehouses for loading and unloading. The module’s remote operator, which Einride says is key to helping the company’s business model become scalable in the future, will monitor operations and assist or guide when needed during critical low-speed operations, the company said. For example, a remote operator can help a vehicle reverse to a dock or wait for workers to unload a capsule. Einride says the car can operate autonomously in most other situations.

It is not clear how many runs the capsule will perform each day, but under NHTSA-approved limits, the Einride capsule will only operate during daylight hours on weekdays and avoid adverse weather and road conditions such as heavy rain, snow, fog. , hail, or temperatures below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the company said that the module can work in such conditions thanks to lidar and cameras.

Einride is also expanding its presence in the US through a partnership with oat milk company Oatly. Earlier this month, they expanded their partnership to electrify Oatley’s North American fleet with five connected Class 8 Einride electric trucks. In February, Einride has reportedly ordered 200 electric trucks from BYD. for use in the USA


Credit: techcrunch.com /

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