Einride starts trials on public roads of driverless, autonomous delivery vehicle
A company in Sweden has begun trials on public roads of a driverless, autonomous delivery vehicle for freight deliveries.
Einride has launched road tests of its T-Pod delivery truck on public roads, which the company says is the first open road test in the world of an AV without a driver on-board. Previous tests of AVs have mainly relied on having a human driver on standby in the cabin of the vehicle.
The T-Pod, an all-electric delivery vehicle, is an SAE Level 4 autonomous vehicle, meaning it has no human driver onboard, but can be remotely controlled by an operator if required. Fully autonomous vehicles that require no human intervention are classed as level 5 by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).
Sweden’s Transport Agency ruled that the T-Pod was safe for limited operation on public roads in March.
The T-Pod is being tested by logistics company DB Schenker, on a short stretch of public road in an industrial Jonkoping, central Sweden. The truck will run a route between a freight depot and warehouse. Although the vehicle is capable of speeds up to 85Kph, it will be limited to 5Kph. The trials are due to run until the end of next year.
“Autonomous trucks will become increasingly important for the logistics sector. Together with Einride, we are now able to introduce autonomous, fully electric trucks to a continuous flow on a public road – a milestone in the transition to the transport system of tomorrow,” said Jochen Thewes, CEO of DB Schenker.
The 26-ton vehicle is controlled by a 360 degree array of radar, lidar and camera sensors, and can carry a load of 15 euro pallets, over a range of 200km. The truck is controlled using the Nvidia Drive platform, which provides real time data and visuals from the vehicle to an operator. The off-site operator can supervise and control up to ten vehicles at once.
In this test, the T-Pod is connected using 5G cellular connection, although local telco Telia and Ericsson had to construct two new masts to enable 5G.
“Heavy road transport is responsible for a substantial part of global CO2 emissions. The pilot in Jönköping is a small but important step towards a sustainable transport system. The permit from the Swedish Transport Agency is an important testimonial to the safety of the solution,” said Robert Falck, CEO and founder of Einride.