Take a look at the cab-less driverless 'Pods' that could one day turn truck driving into desk job
- Einride launched its autonomous, all-electric trucks in the US this week.
- The company's "Pods" use remote operators to monitor as many as 10 vehicles at a time.
- Take a look at the futuristic vehicles that could turn truck driving into a desk job.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
A Swedish freight company hopes to turn truck driving into a desk job.
Einride launched its services in the US earlier this week, signing several clients, including Bridgestone and GE Appliances. The company, which operates one of Europe's largest fleets of electric trucks, said it is testing its transportation options, including its autonomous "Pods," electric trucks, and "Saga" operating system, in the US.
Einride's Pods are sleek and futuristic in appearance. What's more, the Pods operate without a cab or any space for an on-site driver.
Einride said its US fleet could become the first fully autonomous and all-electric trucks in the world to run on public roads.
"The innovative spirit of the US is the standard by which all others are measured, and the American transportation market is the biggest in the world," Robert Falck, founder and CEO of Einride, said in a press release. "We have the technology and solution to bring the biggest change in the freight industry since the adoption of the diesel truck 100 years ago."
The trucks will start in private freight yards. The company said it plans to gradually move the vehicles to public roads and highways - a process that may take years.
Autonomous-trucking companies face numerous legal and technical hurdles. Many state regulations prohibit autonomous trucks on public thoroughfares. Furthermore, the vast majority of automated trucks still require a licensed operator and do not have technology that is advanced enough to supplement the need for experienced truckers.
Einride said it has adapted its Flatbed Pod and Saga intelligent operating system for US roads, regulations, and weather conditions.
The company also has a flatbed vehicle that was built specifically for intermodal transportation and carrying shipping containers.
Without any space for a driver in the pods, Einride will hire the world's first remote truck driver. The company said it plans to bring in 2,000 employees, including remote drivers, within the next five years.
While the trucks will operate autonomously, the remote driver will monitor the vehicles and step in when needed for emergencies or if the vehicle encounters an unusual situation like an accident or construction zone. Ideally, the worker would monitor as many as 10 Pods at once.
The remote operator can tweak small knobs to control the vehicle, as well as judge situations in real time through a panoramic view of the Pod's surroundings.
Einride is one of many freight companies seeking to create a trucking industry without truck drivers. On Monday, Walmart announced it had started using fully driverless trucks to make short-distance grocery deliveries in its home state. Startups TuSimple and Waymo are also looking to flood the market.
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