Cabless autonomous electric truck approved for US public roads
Freight technology company Einride first introduced its cabless autonomous electric T-pod truck back in 2017, which rolled on Swedish roads for the first time a couple of years later. Now the company has been given the green light for operation on public roads in the US.
A number of autonomous trucks have already rolled along public roads in US pilots, with these test vehicles either having a safety driver in the cab to take over should issues arise or being accompanied by a mobile support team.
In what Einride claims is a first, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has approved its purpose-built autonomous electric vehicle to operate on public roads in the US, and there'll be no driver in the cab as the Einride Pod doesn't have a cab.
The battery-electric Pod makes use of an onboard sensor suite comprising cameras, radars and LiDARs and will be monitored remotely by a human operator – which the company notes is "critical in safely scaling autonomous vehicles by keeping humans in the loop and creating jobs to fulfill a future way of shipping."
The public road pilot is due to start in Q3 of this year, where the vehicle will merge with existing fleet operations at a GE Appliances manufacturing facility and is expected to move goods between warehouses and operate on public roads in mixed traffic.
"We are creating a more sustainable and efficient supply chain through increased electrification and automation in our manufacturing and distribution operations," said GE Appliances' VP of Supply Chain, Bill Good. "We’ve appreciated working with Einride in demonstrating how their Pod technology can help us accelerate achievement of that goal."