First driverless, electric, off-road logging truck rolls into Goodwood
It might not be the quickest vehicle at the event, but Swedish transport company Einride has chosen the Goodwood Festival of Speed to reveal the T-log, an autonomous, electric logging truck. Incorporating some unusual purpose-built design for the niche logging market, the vehicle is designed to go off-road and to navigate forest roads with and without loads.
With a name like T-log one might expect this latest truck from Einride to drop some beats –maybe while driving alongside its sideways hat-wearing buddy the T-pod that Einride introduced last year and which it shares more than a few design elements with. Where the T-pod is made for a specific road-going task with an easily-defined body of needs to match, the T-log adds more power and capability for a much more arduous and variable task.
The T-log is designed to operate as a Level 4 self-driving vehicle, as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). An SAE Level 4 vehicle can operate autonomously without human intervention in specific, pre-defined or pre-determined situations. Google's Waymo project is another example of Level 4 autonomy.
In the case of the Einride T-log, this autonomous driving is powered by tech from Nvidia Drive. The truck has no driver's cab for a human to enter and sit in. Instead, manual driving is conducted via remote control, which can happen from anywhere with a connection to the T-log truck.
Think of it as a drone for log hauling, potentially operated from afar. This would preclude humans being in the area of the log-hauling operations, enhancing safety and improving efficiency. Because the T-log is largely self-driving, one operator could potentially be in charge of multiple trucks, further enhancing efficiency.
"The driver's cab is what makes trucks expensive to produce, and having a driver in the cabin is what makes them expensive to operate," points out Einride CEO Robert Falck. "Remove the cabin and replace the driver with an operator who can monitor and remote-control several vehicles at once and costs can be reduced significantly. In addition, operating a vehicle from a distance allows for a much better working environment, as has already been demonstrated in industries like mining."
The T-log's is remote controlled through a teleoperation system designed by Phantom Auto that can operate over 4G connections with minimal latency. The lack of a driver's cab in the T-log means more room for cargo, lower production and maintenance costs, and lower operating costs. The system combines with Nvidia's self-driving technologies, using cameras, lidar, and radar to form a 360-degree, real-time view of the T-log's surroundings.
The T-log is a 16-ton truck that operates using 300 kWh on-board batteries for an expected range of 120 fully-loaded miles (193 km) per charge. Einride says it has registered interest in T-log trucks from several global companies.
A teaser video of the T-log can be seen below.