Self-driving trucks to hit Swedish roads this year

Small electric trucks from the Swedish startup Einride could begin autonomous operation as early as this year. Just six months ago, the company presented a prototype of its cargo transport, now Gas2 reports that already working samples and cdl dispatcher training are ready to hit the streets.

In the summer, it was reported that the city truck would be named T-pod. In addition to autonomy, it must be equipped with a remote control system. Its battery holds 200 kWh of energy, which should be enough for 200 km. When designing, it was immediately taken into account that an autonomous truck does not need a driver on board, and therefore does not need a cab for it. As a result, the truck is built without space for people. Instead, the freed up volume is used to more efficiently accommodate various loads – the truck has 15 square meters of cargo space, which is equivalent to 15 standard pallets of goods.

At first, the trucks must run on the road between the cities of Gothenburg and Helsingborg in Sweden. The road will also be equipped with charging stations for these vehicles. The company says its truck network will carry up to 2 million pallets of goods a year. The CO2 emissions of transporting such volumes in the traditional way are equivalent to the annual emissions of 400,000 passenger cars. So T-pod promises to significantly reduce the negative impact of cargo transportation on the environment. The cost of one truck is 150 thousand US dollars.

The company promised to start a pilot program this year. It will be implemented in partnership with one of the largest grocery chains in Sweden, Lidl. The supermarket chain plans to reduce its emissions by 40%, and Einride must help them achieve this. During the tests, the startup’s trucks will make daily trips to deliver groceries between stores. The tests will also take place on normal roads. Since there is no place for the driver, the transport will be monitored remotely. Operators will join if the situation requires it. According to plans, one operator will control up to 10 trucks.

A similar remote control model was chosen by the Silicon Valley company Starsky Robotics. She hires truckers, but puts them not behind the wheel of a truck, but in an office chair in front of monitors. From here, truckers can control several cars at once.

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